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Synecdoche Examples

Synecdoche is a figure of speech in which a part of something is used to represent the whole or the whole of something is used to represent part of it. For instance, calling a car "wheels" is a synecdoche because a part of a car "wheels" stands for the whole car. It is considered to be a special kind of metonymy. When used in literature, a synecdoche will add to the visual imagery of the passage and enhance the reader's experience. There are several different forms of synecdoche, for example:

-A synecdoche may use part of something to represent the entire whole.

-It may use an entire whole thing to represent a part of it.

-It may use a group of things that refer to a larger group or use a large group to refer to a smaller group. 

-A synecdoche may also refer to an object by the material it is made from or refer to the contents in a container by the name of the container.

The usage of synecdoche, thus, emphasizes a sentence delivering the right context and embellishing the literary work. In addition to this, synecdoches also add variation, elegance, floweriness and present the language luxuriously. By using synecdoche, writers give the otherwise common ideas and objects deeper meanings and thus drawing readers' attention. Furthermore, the use of synecdoche helps writers to achieve brevity, by conveying a message in more concise terms.
Take thy face hence.
Meaning: The speaker wants the whole person to leave, not just their face.

- William Shakespeare (Play: Macbeth)
Literature William Shakespeare
His eye met hers as she sat there paler and whiter than anyone in the vast ocean of anxious faces about her.
Meaning: Face represents the whole person; a part used to refer to the whole.

- Frank R Stockton (Poem: The Lady or the Tiger?)
Poems Poetry Frank R Stockton Literature
And claim the insurance on all the pretty dreams?
What sort of destructive decency? There was
No cc-tv watching, no bar code beeped
When some unpoliced fingers scratched the match into flame
And now there is a gap in the esplanade...

Meaning: The unpoliced fingers referred to in the poem are a part of the whole. The whole, being the arsonist that is the central figure of the piece.

- Alan Brownjohn (Poem: Incident on a Holiday)
Poems Poetry Alan Brownjohn
I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

Meaning: "A pair of ragged claws" represents a crab or sea creature.

- T S Eliot (Poem: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock)
Poems Poetry T S Eliot
All hands on deck.
Meaning: An expression meaning "we need everyone's help".
Lend me your ears.
Meaning: Listen to me.
White-collar criminals.
Meaning: Corporate criminal activity.
White hair.
Meaning: An elderly person.
He has many mouths to feed.
Meaning: To look after or take care of many.
His parents bought him a new set of wheels.
Meaning: Wheels refers to a new car.
The ship was lost with all hands.
Meaning: Hands refers to sailors.
Peter Pan.
Peter Pan.
Meaning: "All hands on deck" is used as a synecdoche because hands are actually a part of a person but in this case, "hand" represents "person." So Mr. Smee means, "All people on deck!"

- J M Barrie (Movie: Peter Pan)
Film J M Barrie
Silent Dust.
Silent Dust.
Meaning: By Lance Comfort, a synecdoche is presented by Simon Rawley in a scene, where he leaps through a window to get away from an arrest. The use of 'run away from us over the cobbles' is the use of this figure of speech.

- Lance Comfort (Movie: Silent Dust)
Film Lance Comfort
Legally Blonde.
Legally Blonde.
Meaning: As Elle becomes self-actualized during her rising success in law school, she ceases to so flagrantly feed this synecdoche, insisting on being seen as a whole person. Thats why in the next-to-final sequence, when she walks away from Warner and disappears in to the sun of the outside world, we see her entire body for only the first time from his perspective: slipping in to the haze because Warner never really knew Elle, he knew only the idea of her that he formed in his mind between her misguided visual clues and his contextualized experience of women.

- Rob Luketic (Movie: Legally Blonde)
Film Rob Luketic
The White House.
Meaning: A metonymy for the president and his staff, because the White House (A) is not part of the president or his staff (B) but is closely associated with them.
The office of the mayor.
Meaning: A metonymy for everyone who works for the mayor.
Drinking a glass.
Meaning: Glass is used in place of its contents.
Synecdoche Meaning
A synecdoche is a type of trope, which is a figure of speech. When used in literature, a synecdoche will add to the visual imagery of the passage and enhance the reader's experience.
Synecdoche Examples
Wow, it's raining cats and dogs out there!