AskDefine | Define synecdoche

Dictionary Definition

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

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

From synecdoche, from sc=polytonic.

Pronunciation

  • /sɪˈnɛkdəki/ or
  • /sI"nEkd@ki/

Alternative spellings

Noun

  1. In the context of "rhetoric": A metaphor by which an inclusive term stands for something included, or vice versa; a metaphor in which a part is spoken of as the whole (hand for laborer) or vice-versa (the court for the judge).
    Examples of synecdoches are:
    • 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)

Translations

certain type of metaphor
  • Czech: synekdocha
  • Dutch: synecdoche
  • French: synecdoque
  • German: Synekdoche
  • Italian: sineddoche
  • Japanese: 提喩(法)(ていゆ(ほう), teiyu ( hou ) )

Dutch

Pronunciation

  • /sinɛkˈdoxə/

Etymology

From synecdoche, from sc=polytonic.

Noun

  1. In the context of "literature|lang=nl": synecdoche

See also

Extensive Definition

Synecdoche from Greek sunekdokhê, "simultaneous understanding" () is a figure of speech in which:
  • a term denoting a part of something is used to refer to the whole thing, or
  • a term denoting a thing (a "whole") is used to refer to part of it, or
  • a term denoting a specific class of thing is used to refer to a larger, more general class, or
  • a term denoting a general class of thing is used to refer to a smaller, more specific class, or
  • a term denoting a material is used to refer to an object composed of that material.
Synecdoche is closely related to metonymy (the figure of speech in which a term denoting one thing is used to refer to a related thing); indeed, synecdoche is often considered a subclass of metonymy. It is more distantly related to other figures of speech, such as metaphor.
The use of synecdoche is a common way to emphasize an important aspect of a fictional character; for example, a character might be consistently described by a single body part, such as the eyes, which come to represent the character. This is often used when the main character does not know or care about the names of the characters that he/she is referring to.
Also, sonnets and other forms of love poetry frequently use synecdoches to characterize the beloved in terms of individual body parts rather than a whole, coherent self. This practice is especially common in the Petrarchan sonnet, where the idealised beloved is often described part by part, from head to toe.

Examples

  • Examples where a part of something is used to refer to the whole:
    • "The ship was lost with all hands [sailors]."
    • "His parents bought him a new set of wheels [car]."
    • Similarly, "mouths to feed" for hungry people, "white hair" for an elderly person, "the press" for news media.
    • In nations, "Britain" is used to mean the entire United Kingdom, as Holland is for Netherlands.
  • Examples where the whole of something is used to refer to a part of it:
    • "Use your head [brain] to figure it out."
    • "Michigan [the government of Michigan] just passed a law addressing this problem."
    • Similarly, "body" for the trunk of the body, the "smiling year" for spring
  • Examples where a species (specific kind) is used to refer to its genus (more general kind):
    • "The cutthroats [assassins] there will as soon shoot a man as look at him."
    • "Could you pass me a Kleenex [facial tissue]?"
    • Similarly, "coke" for pop/soda, "castle" for home, "meat" or "bread" for food, "Judas" for traitor
  • Examples where the material an object is made of is used to refer to the object itself:
    • "Those are some nice threads [clothes]."
    • Similarly, "willow" for cricket bat, "copper" for penny, "roof" for a house, "boards" for stage, "ivories" for piano keys, "plastic" for credit card, "the hardwood" for a gym floor, "pigskin" for football

See also

References

  • Greek Grammar

External links

wikt synecdoche
synecdoche in Belarusian (Tarashkevitsa): Сінекдаха
synecdoche in Bulgarian: Синекдоха
synecdoche in Catalan: Sinècdoque
synecdoche in German: Synekdoche
synecdoche in Modern Greek (1453-): Συνεκδοχή
synecdoche in Spanish: Sinécdoque
synecdoche in Esperanto: Sinekdoĥo
synecdoche in French: Synecdoque
synecdoche in Croatian: Sinegdoha
synecdoche in Ido: Sinekdoko
synecdoche in Icelandic: Meðskilningur
synecdoche in Italian: Sineddoche
synecdoche in Hebrew: סינקדוכה
synecdoche in Dutch: Synecdoche
synecdoche in Japanese: 提喩
synecdoche in Norwegian: Synekdoke
synecdoche in Polish: Synekdocha
synecdoche in Russian: Синекдоха
synecdoche in Slovak: Synekdocha
synecdoche in Finnish: Synekdokee
synecdoche in Swedish: Synekdoke
synecdoche in Ukrainian: Синекдоха
synecdoche in Chinese: 借代
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