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Increase your vocabulary and you’ll make your writing much more precise. That’s why I provide a word of the week. Today’s word: synecdoche…
Here is how Dreyer used the term, in his acknowledgments section:
I can’t possibly thank here everyone I’d like to and ought, so this improbably succinct (no, really) list must serve as synecdoche, with a pledge to convey further gratitude face-to-face as the opportunity presents itself.
The word is a literary term (hence the dim bell), meaning a figure of speech in which a part is made to represent the whole or vice versa. Here are some examples:
- Boots on the ground—refers to soldiers.
- The wrong hands — refers to opposing groups, usually in the context of military power.
- New wheels—refers to a new car.
- Plastic—can refer to credit cards.
- The White House—can refer to statements made by individuals within the United States government.
Synecdoche is often used as a type of personification by attaching a human aspect to a nonhuman thing.
The word comes from Medieval Latin synodoche, an alteration of Late Latin synecdoche, which in turn comes from the Greek synekdokhe, meaning “the putting of a whole for a part; an understanding one with another,” literally “a receiving together or jointly.”
The pronunciation of synecdoche is probably not what you expect. Click on the sound icon, here, to listen to it.