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Word of the Day: synecdoche

Posted by ESC on September 15, 2003

The Word of the Day for September 15 is:

synecdoche \suh-NEK-duh-kee\ noun
: a figure of speech by which a part is put for the whole or vice versa, the species for the genus or vice versa, or the name of the material for the thing made

Example sentence:
The poetic use of "fifty sails" for "fifty ships" is an example of synecdoche.

Did you know?
"Synecdoche," from Greek "syn-" ("together") and "ekdoche" ("interpretation"), is a good word to know if you are a budding author. Writers, and especially poets, use synecdoche in several
different ways to create vivid imagery. Most frequently, synecdoche involves substituting a part for the whole, as in our example sentence. Less commonly, it involves putting the whole
for the part ("society" for "high society"), the species for the genus ("cutthroat" for "assassin"), the genus for the species ("a creature" for "a man"), or the material for the thing made ("boards" for "stage"). Synecdoche is similar to metonymy -- the
use of the name of one thing in place of something associated with it (such as "Shakespeare" for "the works of Shakespeare").

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