/sɪˈnɛk.də.ki/, /sɪˈnɛk.doʊ.ki/
noun, singular
plural – synecdoches
alternative spelling – syndoche, synechdoche

Derived forms

adj. synecdochic
adj. synecdochical
adv. synecdochically


Synecdoche is a figure of speech in which a less encompassing term is used in place of a more encompassing term or the other way around. As in, substituting a part for the whole (and vice versa).


pars pro toto (Latin for part for whole), metonymy


None found

Word origin

The word stemmed from Greek ‘syn-’ and ‘ekdoche’ meaning ‘to receive together.’


Synecdoche is a literary device commonly used by writers for brevity and to make characterizations more vivid. The term is related closely to metonymy, another literary device, with which it is often misidentified.
Synecdoche helps to develop literary symbolism, since it allows to describe ordinary objects in a different, more creative manner.

Pronunciation of the word can sometimes be mistaken for Schenectady, a city in Schenectady County, New York.

Examples of sentences containing ‘synecdoche’