Wednesday, October 22, 2008

synecdoche: Word of the Day Word of the Day


Word of the Day for Wednesday, October 22, 2008

synecdoche \si-NEK-duh-kee\, noun:

a figure of speech by which a part is put for the whole or whole for a part or general for the special or vice versa

Photographers had to resort to visual synecdoche, hoping that a small part of the scene -- a wailing child, an emaciated mother, a pile of corpses in a freshly dug trench -- would suggest the horrors of the whole.
-- Paul Gray, Looking At Cataclysms, Time, August 1, 1994
We're using the part-for-whole type of synecdoche, for instance, when we describe a smart person as a "brain."
-- We Live by the Brand, Hartford Courant, August 9, 1995

By 1388, from Middle Latin synodoche, from Late Latin synecdoche, from Greek synekdokhe, literally "a receiving together or jointly," from synekdekhesthai "supply a thought or word, take with something else," from syn- "with" + ek "out" + dekhesthai "to receive," related to dokein "seem good". Entry and Pronunciation for synecdoche

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