Definition of synecdoche in English:



  • A figure of speech in which a part is made to represent the whole or vice versa, as in England lost by six wickets (meaning ‘ the English cricket team’).

    • ‘On the other hand, the synecdoche is plain in the case of the Chalice: ‘This is my blood’, i.e. the contents of the Chalice are my blood, and hence no longer wine.’
    • ‘I found examples of other tropes and schemes - epanalepsis, asyndeton, polysyndeton, hyperbole, metonymy, synecdoche, personification, and anadiplosis - but perhaps my point is sufficiently made.’
    • ‘Note that this leaves aside several more difficult questions: the relationships among referents vs. the structure of the ontology, the problems of metonymy and synecdoche, elliptical variants of terms, etc.’
    • ‘It is an inventive device intended to provide new perspectives- and metonymy, synecdoche, and irony all operate by the invention of perspective.’
    • ‘But as any reader of the odes can attest, Neruda's incredible use of metaphor, simile and synecdoche, among other poetic techniques frequently confronts the reader unprepared, jolted by the sudden flash of creative spontaneity.’
    • ‘Such synecdoches are central to reformist representation, which relies on one ‘wretched woman’ to stand in for all.’
    • ‘Metonymy limited language by restricting it to ‘metaphorical extension’; synecdoche overcomes this limitation by inducement.’
    • ‘Other theorists add synecdoche and irony to complete a list of ‘four master tropes'.’
    • ‘Night and Fog is formally constructed as a visual synecdoche, evoking a major chapter of history from a few traces remaining.’
    • ‘There is a typology of rhetorical figures of speech made up of four tropes, they in turn govern the way we operate language: metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, and irony.’
    • ‘I use the expression ‘all mouth and no trousers’ to introduce my sixth-formers to the distinction between synecdoche and metonymy.’
    • ‘He, however, says that this substitution, along with many others, characterizes synecdoche.’


Late Middle English: via Latin from Greek sunekdokhē, from sun- together + ekdekhesthai take up.