Definition of synecdoche
: a figure of speech by which a part is put for the whole (such as fifty sail for fifty ships), the whole for a part (such as society for high society), the species for the genus (such as cutthroat for assassin), the genus for the species (such as a creature for a man), or the name of the material for the thing made (such as boards for stage)
synecdochicplay \ˌsi-ˌnek-ˈdä-kik\ adjective
synecdochicalplay \-ˈdä-ki-kəl\ adjective
synecdochicallyplay \-ki-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
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Recent Examples of synecdoche from the Web
Unlike the Trump International Hotel—the upscale property that opened in September 2016 and has become something of a synecdoche for the president’s conflicts of interest—a new Scion hotel in D.C. would likely be a licensing deal.
King’s shudders and vibratos, half-shouts and glottal stops have become a synecdoche for the ongoing struggle for American freedom.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'synecdoche.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Use synecdoche as a Literary Device
Synecdoche, from Greek syn- ("together") and "ekdochē" ("interpretation"), is a good word to know if you are a budding author. Writers, and especially poets, use synecdoche in several different ways to create vivid imagery. Most frequently, synecdoche involves substituting a part for the whole ("fifty sail" for "fifty ships"). Less commonly, it involves putting the whole for the part ("society" for "high society"), the species for the genus ("cutthroat" for "assassin"), the genus for the species ("a creature" for "a man"), or the material for the thing made ("boards" for "stage"). Synecdoche is similar to metonymy, the use of the name of one thing in place of something associated with it (such as "Shakespeare" for "the works of Shakespeare").
Origin and Etymology of synecdoche
Learn More about synecdoche
Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about synecdoche
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