Get Your Premium Membership

Synecdoche

Definition

A figure of speech that presents a kind of metaphor in which:A part of something is used for the whole, The whole is used for a part, The species is used for the genus, The genus is used for the species, or The stuff of which something is made is used for the thing.

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

Example

  • A part of something is used for the whole
    • "hands" to refer to workers, "head" for cattle, "threads" for clothing, "wheels" for car, "mouths to feed" for hungry people, "white hair" for the elderly, "The Press" for news media
  • The whole is used for a part
    • "the police" for a handful of officers, "body" for the trunk of the body, the "smiling year" for spring, "the Pentagon" for the top-ranking generals in the Pentagon building
  • The species is used for the genus
    • "cutthroat" for assassin, "kleenex" for facial tissue, "coke" for soda, "castle" for home, "bread" for food, "Judas" for traitor
  • The genus is used for the species
    • "creature" for person, "milk" for cow's milk
  • The material of which an object is made is used for the complete object
    • "willow" for cricket bat, "copper" for penny, "boards" for stage, "ivories" for piano keys, "plastic" for credit card, "the hardwood" for a gym floor

Related Information

More Synecdoche Links