This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Nuts and Bolts: synecdoche

Firstly, although synecdoche does look quite French (as if it should be said sinn-ek-DOSH) it's not (and you don't).

Secondly, synecdoche is a bit weird because it consists of two opposite things.

It's synecdoche when you talk about a part of something when you really mean the whole of it (as in many hands make light work, when unless the hands are connected to their bodies then they just! I don't even want to think about it).

Synecdoche can also be when you talk about something big and you really mean just a part of it: the conference has announced that from next Monday all teachers must wear school uniform (that's not true, though perhaps it should be). In this case, of course, a conference can't announce anything, and what's really meant is probably a spokesperson.

Simple, isn't it? And to be found all over the place, too. Even in the title of the occasional popular film.

Grammatical Oddity To Use Today: synecdoche. Perhaps as in (if you're at school) But the staff wear high heels!*

Saying the word synecdoche probably won't win you many friends, but if you must say it it's sinnEKdohKEE.

*If you have no tall male teachers then this might not be synecdoche at all but the plain truth. But I doubt it even then.

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