[ si-nek-duh-kee ]
/ sɪˈnɛk də ki /

noun Rhetoric.

a figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole or the whole for a part, the special for the general or the general for the special, as in ten sail for ten ships or a Croesus for a rich man.

Origin of synecdoche

1350–1400; < Medieval Latin < Greek synekdochḗ, equivalent to syn- syn- + ekdochḗ act of receiving from another, equivalent to ek- ec- + -dochē, noun derivative of déchesthai to receive

Related forms

syn·ec·doch·ic [sin-ik-dok-ik] /ˌsɪn ɪkˈdɒk ɪk/, syn·ec·doch·i·cal, adjectivesyn·ec·doch·i·cal·ly, adverb

Can be confused

Schenectady synecdoche Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for synecdoche

British Dictionary definitions for synecdoche


/ (sɪnˈɛkdəkɪ) /


a figure of speech in which a part is substituted for a whole or a whole for a part, as in 50 head of cattle for 50 cows, or the army for a soldier

Derived Forms

synecdochic (ˌsɪnɛkˈdɒkɪk) or synecdochical, adjectivesynecdochically, adverb

Word Origin for synecdoche

C14: via Latin from Greek sunekdokhē, from syn- + ekdokhē interpretation, from dekhesthai to accept
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012