Synecdoche (sih-NECK-duh-kee): Figure of comparison in which a word standing for part of something is used for the whole of that thing or vice versa; any part or portion or quality of a thing used to stand for the whole of the thing or vice versa -- genus to species or species to genus.



("This is NBC Nightly News with John Chancellor and David Brinkley.")

"Good evening. Elvis Presley died today. He was 42. Apparently, it was a heart attack. He was found in his home in Memphis not breathing. His road manager tried to revive him -- he failed. A hospital tried to revive him -- it failed. His doctor pronounced him dead at three o'clock this afternoon.

-- NBC Nightly News with John Chancellor and David Brinkley

Note: In this case, the whole (hospital) stands in for one of its parts (the attending physician and health care workers).

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"Give us this day our daily bread."

-- Matthew 6:11

Note: In this case, the part (bread) stands in for the whole (food and perhaps other necessities of life)

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"And I began a little quiet campaign of persuasion with certain editors, seeking to show the unlimited possibilities for education and amusement. One would have thought that we would find willing ears on the part of the newspapers."

-- Lee De Forest

Note: Two instances of synecdoche. The first uses a part (willing ears) to stand for the whole (persons in charge of making the decisions). The second uses a part (newspapers) to stand for the whole (newspaper companies).

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