Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

synecdoche

play
noun syn·ec·do·che \sə-ˈnek-də-(ˌ)kē\

Definition of synecdoche

  1. :  a figure of speech by which a part is put for the whole (as fifty sail for fifty ships), the whole for a part (as society for high society), the species for the genus (as cutthroat for assassin), the genus for the species (as a creature for a man), or the name of the material for the thing made (as boards for stage)

syn·ec·doch·ic play \ˌsi-ˌnek-ˈdä-kik\ adjective
syn·ec·doch·i·cal play \-ˈdä-ki-kəl\ adjective
syn·ec·doch·i·cal·ly play \-ki-k(ə-)lē\ adverb


Origin of synecdoche

Latin, from Greek synekdochē, from syn- + ekdochē sense, interpretation, from ekdechesthai to receive, understand, from ex from + dechesthai to receive; akin to Greek dokein to seem good — more at ex-, decent


First Known Use: 15th century

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms


Learn More about synecdoche


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up synecdoche? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 11, 2016

the holder of an office

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image33683556

How much does a batman (the Turkish unit of measurement) weigh?

100 pounds 2.2 pounds 196.5 pounds 16.96 pounds
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ