Synecdoche (from Greek, meaning literally simultaneous understanding) is a figure of speech in which one of the following occurs:


  • A part of something is used for the whole (e.g., hands for sailors, Ol’ Blue Eyes for Frank Sinatra).
  • A whole is used for a part (e.g., the law for police).
  • A specific is thing is used for a general thing (e.g., John Hancock for signature, Coke for all colas, Wall Street for the financial industry).
  • A non-specific term is used for a specific thing (e.g., the good book for The Bible).
  • A material is used for the object made of that material (e.g., plastic for credit card).
  • A container is used for its contents (e.g., flask for liquor).

Check Your Text


  1. Chris Johnston says:

    What is the difference between synecdoche and metonymy, then?

  2. Jake Daniel says:

    Your third dot-point has a syntax error. “A specific is thing is…”

Speak Your Mind

About Grammarist
Contact | Privacy policy | Home
© Copyright 2009-2014 Grammarist