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37 Synecdoche Examples (+ An Easy-to-Understand Definition)

On this publish, we’ll dive right into a hearty assortment of synecdoche examples.

And alongside the best way, you’ll study precisely what synecdoche is, why it’s used, and the way it can take your writing from zero to hero.

So, let’s dissect this strange-sounding literary gadget after which see what it appears to be like like in motion.



synecdoche examples 700

What’s Synecdoche?

Synecdoche (pronounced sin-nek-duh-kee) is a literary time period that makes use of part of one thing to characterize a complete or a complete to characterize a component.

Usually, synecdoche is damaged into two varieties: microcosm and macrocosm:

  • Microcosm makes use of a component or factor to characterize a bigger entire, and
  • Macrocosm does the alternative: utilizing a complete or bigger entity to characterize a particular half.

Synecdoche vs. Metonymy

The road between synecdoche and metonymy is a bit fuzzy, and also you’ll see why after we outline metonymy:

Metonymy is a literary time period the place a phrase or phrase is substituted with one other associated phrase or phrase.


For instance:

“We want boots on the bottom as shortly as attainable”, the place boots (one thing troopers sometimes put on) characterize troopers.

Now let’s have a look at an instance that tip-toes the road between synecdoche and metonymy:

“He requested for her hand in marriage.”


At first look, it appears apparent that hand is getting used to characterize the entire lady, by which case we’re synecdoche. However for the reason that lady’s hand will bear the marriage ring, you can additionally argue that her hand, on this case, serves as a proximate substitute for her consent to marry him, which might make this an instance of metonymy.

Don’t sweat it should you’re nonetheless a bit fuzzy on the distinction between these two literary phrases; they confuse most individuals to start with. However that will help you get extra comfy with synecdoche, we’ll evaluation much more super-fun examples.

Let’s discover some synecdoche examples, we could?

Types of Synecdoche with Examples

When a Half Represents a Complete

Microcosmic synecdoche makes use of a particular a part of one thing to indicate the entire object, as you’ll see within the following examples:

  • “All palms on deck!” — makes use of “palms” to indicate the entire sailors.
  • “I would like a headcount by morning,” — makes use of “head” to characterize a complete particular person.
  • “Good wheels!” — makes use of “wheels” to designate a complete automotive.

When a Materials Represents an Object

One other kind of microcosmic synecdoche references an object utilizing the fabric of which it’s made, which turns into a part of its essence — even when completely different supplies are used to make the identical factor.

  • “Paper or plastic?” — Each supplies are used to make disposable grocery luggage, which is what we’re referencing right here.
  • “Are we out of fresh silverware?” — makes use of silverware to characterize the bigger class of consuming utensils or cutlery, despite the fact that most of those aren’t truly made from silver.
  • “It’s within the papers” — makes use of “papers” to imply a newspaper, even when a specific article was discovered on-line.

When a Particular Class Represents a Complete

A 3rd class of microcosmic synecdoche includes the usage of a particular class or model title to characterize the broader class to which it belongs.

  • “We want extra Kleenex.” — makes use of the well-known model title, Kleenex, to characterize the bigger class of facial tissues typically.
  • “I would like a Band-Assist”— makes use of the model title, Band-Assist, to characterize the entire class of adhesive bandages.
  • “I hate once they use Styrofoam!” — utilizing Styrofoam, which is a model title, for polystyrene packing materials.

When a Complete Represents a Half

Synecdoche that makes use of a complete to characterize a smaller half is macrosomic.

Let’s have a look at some simple examples:

  • “It’s a merciless world” — makes use of “world” to imply particular folks (in a specific setting) who’re being jerks.  “A merciless world” may reference an unenjoyable expertise.
  • “Let’s go to the films!” — makes use of “films” to imply a particular film taking part in at an area theater.
  • “Forbes desires to interview me! — makes use of Forbes Journal to characterize the person reporter who can be doing the interview.

When a Container Represents What it Incorporates

In one other instance of macrocosmic synecdoche, the title of a container is used to characterize its contents:

  • “Are you able to consider they’re charging ten {dollars} a glass?” — The “glass” right here isn’t referring to the container itself however to the beverage it holds.
  • “They ate three entire bins” — utilizing “bins” to imply no matter they initially contained.
  • “I believed she’d return to the bottle, however she proved me fallacious” — the place “bottle” represents alcoholic drinks.

When a Class Represents Objects in that Class

And at last, this kind of macrocosmic synecdoche makes use of a class as a kind of container to imply a particular merchandise that belongs to it.

  • “America took dwelling gold” — makes use of America as a bigger class to characterize Olympians for the U.S. crew.
  • “Denver beat New York in final evening’s recreation” — makes use of the names of particular states to characterize their sports activities groups.
  • “All his enemies had been put to the sword” — makes use of “sword” to characterize all strategies of execution, which may definitely embody the stabby varieties.

19 Extra Examples of Synecdoche

Now that you recognize the completely different types of synecdoche, you’ll know methods to spot them in something you learn, watch, or hearken to. You’ll discover some acquainted examples under, a few of that are extra apparent than others.

Examples of Synecdoche in Character Names

It’s common to see synecdoche in character names, and under is only a sampling. You’ll be able to in all probability consider others.

  • Fang — Hagrid’s canine from the Harry Potter collection
  • Purple — Ellis Boyd Redding from The Shawshank Redemption
  • Sizzling Lips — Margaret Houlihan from the TV collection Mash
  • Blackbeard — well-known seafaring pirate
  • Whiskers — cat from Toy Story

Examples of Synecdoche in Literature

Literature — each poetry and prose — each displays and provides to the usage of rhetorical gadgets in on a regular basis speech, as you’ll see within the following examples:

I heard a Fly buzz—after I died by Emily Dickinson

“I heard a Fly buzz — after I died — The Stillness within the Room

Was just like the Stillness within the Air —

Between the Heaves of Storm —

The Eyes round — had wrung them dry —

And Breaths had been gathering agency

For that final Onset — when the King

Be witnessed — within the Room —”

Right here, ”the eyes” are the folks surrounding the speaker as she lay dying.

The Nice Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

“It was the form of voice that the ear follows up and down, as if every speech is an association of notes that may by no means be performed once more.”

On this, ”ear” represents total folks enchanted by the voice the writer is describing.

The Rime of the Historic Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

“The western wave was all a-flame.

The day was effectively nigh accomplished!

Nearly upon the western wave

Rested the broad brilliant Solar.”

Right here, “wave” stands in for the ocean.

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

“He shall assume in another way,” the musketeer threatened, “When he feels the purpose of my metal.”

“Metal” refers to one of many musketeer’s swords, referencing the fabric it’s constructed from.

 Macbeth by William Shakespeare

“Take thy face therefore!”

On this, King Macbeth is demanding one in all his servants depart. “Face” is a referring to the servant’s normal presence.

To not get all phrase nerd right here, however this can be a sensible use of synecdoche as a result of face-to-face communication is basically accomplished with, effectively, the face. And summing up one’s total presence as a “face” not solely provides dramatic aptitude, nevertheless it feels slightly insulting too.

Synecdoche Examples in Dialog & On a regular basis Language

Synecdoche in on a regular basis speech is usually (although not all the time) extra handy than poetic.

Let’s have a look at a couple of widespread examples:

  • “He’s the brains of the operation” — utilizing brains to characterize a complete particular person whose intelligence is essential to the operation’s success.
  • “Let’s give the forged a hand for that stirring efficiency” — the place hand represents the act of hand-clapping or applause to point out appreciation.
  • “You might have my entire coronary heart” — utilizing “coronary heart” to characterize your entire particular person: coronary heart, thoughts, physique, and soul.

Examples of Synecdoche in Pop Tradition

You’ll discover synecdoche in popular culture references woven into the newest films, novels, TV collection, books, and weblog posts.

Listed here are a couple of of our favorites:

  • “You need a Coke?” — utilizing a well-liked model title (subtype) to imply a can or bottle of cola, representing a bigger beverage class;
  •  “Converse fact to energy” — the place energy represents the individuals who have the facility to vary issues (ideally for the higher).

Right here’s an instance of microcosmic synecdoche in Taylor Swift’s “Our Tune,” the place “our tune” represents memorable and emotional moments shared all through a romantic relationship:

Our tune is a slamming display screen door,

Sneaking out late tapping in your window,

After we’re on the telephone and also you discuss actual gradual,

‘Trigger it’s late and your mama don’t know…”.

Different Well-known Examples of Synecdoche

Some expressions stick with us for hundreds of years, whether or not they come from spiritual texts, traditional literature, or well-known personalities all through historical past. Listed here are a couple of examples:

  • “Mates, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears” — (Julius Caesar, Shakespeare) the place “ears” can characterize the entire particular person or the particular person’s full consideration, for which ears and/or different senses are wanted.
  • “Give us today our every day bread…” — the place bread signifies all that the supplicant must get by way of the day.
  • “One other day, one other greenback” — the place greenback (hopefully) represents sufficient {dollars} to justify getting off the bed.

Why Use Synecdoche in Writing

Writers use synecdoche for the next causes:

  • To evoke psychological imagery of their readers — as a result of the extra senses concerned, the longer one thing dwells in your reminiscence.
  • To create connections between concepts, which engages the reminiscence and makes the phrases extra significant.

The extra of your reader’s thoughts you have interaction along with your writing, the longer it’s going to reside in your reader’s reminiscence.

That’s what makes this a poetic gadget:

As a result of takes one thing acquainted and does one thing sudden with it to get the reader’s consideration.

Which examples caught yours?

How Will These Synecdoche Examples Change Your Writing?

Now that you recognize what synecdoche is, and have skilled a whirlwind tour of 37 synecdoche examples, what stood out for you?

When have you ever used synecdoche in your individual writing?

If nothing involves thoughts, no worries. Likelihood is, you’ve used it loads of instances, even should you don’t bear in mind.

That mentioned, we invite you to consciously apply what you’ve discovered right here by writing some synecdoche examples of your individual. These may very well be bits of dialogue, colourful descriptions, or a part of a brand new weblog publish.

What is going to you attempt first?

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