Synecdoche Examples

Synecdoche is a type of metaphor. This excerpt from The Grammar Devotional explains how to use synecdoche and gives you some examples. I bet you’ve used it without knowing the name.

Mignon Fogarty
1-minute read

Synecdoche is a specific type of metaphor in which you use part of something to describe all of it:

•         calling a credit card plastic

•         calling sailors hands

•         calling hungry people mouths to feed

•         calling someone who reads your manuscript a second set of eyes

Or it's when you use all of something to describe part of it: saying use your head when you mean use your brain to think.

You find synecdoche when a poet fixates on a physical characteristic of a subject, such as his or her eyes or lips, and in literature when one character will refer to another by a nickname that highlights some part of his or her body:

Here comes "The Mouth" again. Can't we make him stop talking?


Get more tips like this in The Grammar Devotional 


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About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show. Her popular LinkedIn Learning courses help people write better to communicate better.