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Stylistic devices: Synecdoche


What is a synecdoche?

Synecdoche is a figure of speech in which a part of something is used to represent the whole or the whole of something is used to represent part of it. It is considered to be a special kind of metonymy.

Types and examples of synecdoche

  • Part of something is used to refer to the whole thing -
    A hundred head of cattle (using the part head to refer to the whole animal)
  • The whole of a thing is used to represent part of it -
    The world treated him badly
    (using the world to refer to part of the world)
  • A specific class of thing is used to refer to a larger, more general class -
    A bug (used to refer to any kind of insect or arachnid, even if it is not a true bug)
  • A general class of thing is used to refer to a smaller, more specific class -
    The good book (referring to the Bible or the Qur'an)
  • A material is used to refer to an object composed of that material -
    Glasses
    or steel ( referring to spectacles or sword)
  • A container is used to refer to its contents -
    A barrel (referring to a barrel of oil)

Source: Wikipedia

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