From Latin synecdoche, from Ancient Greek συνεκδοχή (sunekdokhḗ, “receiving together”).
- IPA(key): /sɪˈnɛk.də.ki/, /sɪˈnɛk.doʊ.ki/
synecdoche (countable and uncountable, plural synecdoches)
fifty head of cattle — part (head) for whole (animal).
a fleet of ships, fifty sail deep — part (sail) for whole (ship)
the police knocked down my door — whole (the police) for part (some police officers)
the cat stalks the gazelle — class (cat) for subclass (e.g., cheetah)
hand me a Kleenex — subclass (brand named product) for class (all similar products)
China maintains closer high-level ties with Pyongyang — country (China) for its government (Chinese government) and capital (Pyongyang) for its country (North Korea)
- (rhetoric) A figure of speech that uses the name of a part of something to represent the whole.
- 2002, Christopher Hitchens, "Martin Amis: Lightness at Midnight", The Atlantic, Sep 2002:
- "Holocaust" can become a tired synecdoche for war crimes in general.
- (rhetoric) The use of this figure of speech; synecdochy.
figure of speech that uses the name of a part of something to represent the whole