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Synecdoche

 

Techniques > Use of language > Figures of speech > Synechdoche

Method | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

This is the use of an associated item to represent something. Thus:

  • A part of something may stand for the whole.
  • A single item may represent a whole group.
  • A concept may represent a connected concept.

Example

Let me see thy righteous spirit!

We're out here, looking for the big cats.

For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Discussion

By representing one thing as another thing, the listener has to pause and think hard about the association, especially when it is tenuous and conceptual, as synecdoche may be.

Synecdoche is a broader term than metonymy, which deals in nouns and more direct connection. Synecdoche deals in ideas as well.

Thus, for example, metonymy may used 'head' or even 'crown' to represent 'king'. Synecdoche could use 'country' or 'spirit'.

My lord, oh spirit of the nation!

Classification: Meaning, Substitution

See also

Metonymy

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