Find the word definition

Crossword clues for synecdoche

The Collaborative International Dictionary

Synecdoche \Syn*ec"do*che\ (s[i^]n*[e^]k"d[-o]*k[-e]), n. [L. synecdoche, Gr. synekdochh`, fr. to receive jointly; sy`n with + ? to receive; ? out + ? to receive.] (Rhet.) A figure or trope by which a part of a thing is put for the whole (as, fifty sail for fifty ships), or the whole for a part (as, the smiling year for spring), the species for the genus (as, cutthroat for assassin), the genus for the species (as, a creature for a man), the name of the material for the thing made, etc.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"figure of speech in which a part is taken for the whole or vice versa," late 15c. correction of synodoches (late 14c.), from Medieval Latin synodoche, alteration of Late Latin synecdoche, from Greek synekdokhe "the putting of a whole for a part; an understanding one with another," literally "a receiving together or jointly," from synekdekhesthai "supply a thought or word; take with something else, join in receiving," from syn- "with" (see syn-) + ek "out" (see ex-) + dekhesthai "to receive," related to dokein "seem good" (see decent). Typically an attribute or adjunct substituted for the thing meant ("head" for "cattle," "hands" for "workmen," "wheels" for "automobile," etc.). Compare metonymy. Related: Synecdochical.


n. 1 (context figure of speech English) A figure of speech that uses the name of a part of something to represent the whole. 2 (context rhetoric English) The use of this figure of speech; synecdochy.


n. substituting a more inclusive term for a less inclusive one or vice versa


A synecdoche (, ; from Greek , synekdoche, . "simultaneous understanding") is a figure of speech in which a term for a part of something refers to the whole of something or vice versa. A synecdoche is a class of metonymy, often by means of either mentioning a part for the whole or conversely the whole for one of its parts. Examples from common English expressions include "bread and butter" (for "livelihood"), "suits" (for "businesspeople"), and "boots" (for "soldiers") ( Pars pro toto), or conversely "America" (for "the United States of America") ( Totum pro parte). Synecdoche also appears in the use of government buildings to refer to their occupant or agency, as " No. 10" for the British Prime Minister or " The Pentagon" for the United States Department of Defense.

Synecdoche (disambiguation)

Synecdoche is a linguistic term

Synedoche may also refer to:

  • Synecdoche (genus), a genus of planthoppers
  • Synecdoche, New York, a 2008 American film
Synecdoche (genus)

Synecdoche is a genus of planthoppers comprising 22 described species in the family Achilidae. All species are New World in distribution, primarily Nearctic. Their immature stages (nymphs) are commonly encountered associated with fungus (usually in logs)1.

Usage examples of "synecdoche".

In the wake of the groundbreaking prose fiction written by members of the Natural school, literary realists in mid-nineteenth-century Russia were able to use food imagery and fictional meals in their works in less Rabelaisian and more mimetically purposeful ways: that is, as metonyms or synecdoches through which to describe contemporary social reality.

We can recognize here the three great figures of rhetoric: synecdoche, metonymy, catachresis.

These two figures of speech, based on similar agency (metaphor) and similar communion (metonym)or simply similarity (agency) and contiguity (communion) are, as linguists have pointed out, the most basic holons of linguistic communication (along with a hybrid, synecdoche, which substitutes parts for wholes).

What did she want with those pointless, high-flown bits of information like the ones she'd learned in high school-Ontogeny recapitulates phytogeny and Synecdoche is the use of the part to symbolize the whole?