Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Synecdoche

Synecdoche is a word I'd never come across until I opened the dictionary at random just now. Despite never having heard of this device previously, I have used it. I wouldn't be surprised if you have too.  A synecdoche is a figure of speech in which part of something represents the whole.

For example you might refer to a traditional Sunday lunch as 'a roast' even though the vegetables and gravy were cooked in another way. It's generally understood that 'a blonde' will have more body parts than just her hair. When we refer to writing a book we generally also mean planning, rewriting, editing, proofreading and trying to find a market, not just bashing out a first draft.

Here's a picture of a couple of birds - which, I think, is a synecdoche for a picture of a couple of birds and their shadows and a dead leaf, on some grass which has been marked to form a football pitch.

Reader's Digest are running a short story competition with a £1,000 prize. As you're limited to 100 words, you might find a synecdoche or two comes in handy. Here's a poetry competition with a $175 first prize. Apparently synecdoches are often found in poetry, so if you enter I hope you'll use one.

24 comments:

  1. Fascinating word, Patsy - one I've never heard before!

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    1. I suspected this one would be new to a lot of people, Rosemary.

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  2. Synecdoche! I can't even say it let alone use it, Patsy.

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    1. I know how I'm saying it in my head, Wendy but I'm not sure that I'm right. Hang on, I'll go look it up ...

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    2. Well, I was close with the first syllable. It's something like Si-necterkey. Maybe I'll just avoid bringing it up in conversation.

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    3. Si...si...si...necterkey. I think avoiding it a wise move otherwise people might respond with, "Bless you.""

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    1. I sort of know now, Linda. I don't suppose we'll often be chatting to other people who have any better idea.

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  4. I can't even pronounce the word after listening to dictionarydotcom saying it for me five times. But I know I've practiced it.

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    1. I just tried that too, R.Mac. D'you think that dictionary guy is reading the right word?

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  5. I've not heard of this either...thanks Patsy :-)

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  6. Getting my head round this word, Patsy. How do you pronounce it?

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    1. I daren't try just now, Tracy. I've had half a glass of red wine. Better wait until I've had the other half.

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  7. Thanks, Patsy, it's an interesting word. I vaguely remember coming across it at some stage, but I haven't used it in anything I've written. Thanks too for the link to the poetry comp. Have a great day!

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  8. What a great word, Patsy, although I suspect it's one that looks better than it sounds. Thanks for sharing. Rx

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  9. Hi Patsy .. fun word .. it's almost a parody of itself .. and I was going into more .. but then got led into a direction we have no wish to go in ...

    Happy weekend .. Hilary

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    1. Ooooh, I wonder which direction that was.

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  10. Sometimes when I'm reading a book, I jot down all the words I come across that I either don't understand or wouldn't normally use (usually because of the first point!). It's good to learn new words but I don't think I could ever use this particular one. Thanks for enlightening us anyway Patsy.

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    1. I think we're all more likely to use what it represents than the word itself, Maggie. Still it might come up on University Challenge and then, assuming we've not forgotten it by then, we can feel jolly smug.

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  11. Since those are seagulls, the picture might represent a sports field near the beach.

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    1. Actually it's halfway between my home and the beach, Alex - so very near indeed.

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Thanks so much for commenting!