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 make...eu! 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.