What are the examples of synecdoches

What is a synecdoche? - Examples, effect & explanation

The Synekdoche is a stylistic device that belongs to the generic term of the tropics. This means that you replace one word with another, but the meaning remains the same and does not change. This term can be extensive, i.e. used as a generic term, or it can replace the word directly, but retain the meaning. In some examples it is made clear again.

The word Synekdoche comes from the Greek and means something like "to understand". It is not clear what the stylistic figure is supposed to illustrate. Thus, the position of the style figure is not clearly positioned.

In the following example it is made clear that the word roof means the living space in which everyone lives together and we do not go into detail here. That is why the word is used as a generic term and one does not go into any further detail, since all readers know what is meant and visual thinking is encouraged, since everyone with the word evokes a different image.

There are many such words that are used as a generic term. Head = human, plate = food, Great Britain = England, United Kingdom.


Everyone lives under one roof.

There is also the possibility that the whole can be seen as part of a concept. In the next example it becomes clear that not everyone is meant, only the government. However, so many misunderstandings arise because everyone is “lumped together”.

Because many people have different opinions on some issues. It is therefore not absolutely advisable to use such terms, otherwise complications can arise, but it is suitable as an example to clarify it once. The land is made human. Thus it is personalized.


Russia finds China's action beneficial.

There are two special forms of the synecdoche. One form is that the word stands for the whole and the other form or possibility is that the word only covers a part.

Pars pro toto is one of the special forms. The translation means one part for the whole. Thus the word stands for the whole.

Totum pro parte is one of the special forms. The translation means a whole for a part. Thus the word stands for a part and not for the whole.

The synecdoche, metaphor and metonymy

These three are related to each other. They are very similar, but also have differences that are not always clearly evident. In the metaphor, one word is replaced by another, just as in the synecdoche.

However, the word does not have the same meaning, so it cannot be placed as a general or sub-concept or part, it can happen that the sentence then has a completely different meaning. To make the whole thing clear, an example. The desert ship stands for the animal (camel) and is therefore a metaphor.

However, the word is not related to the animal at all, but has a completely different meaning. If you reformulate the sentence, it is no longer a metaphor, because then the humps belong to the animal and one speaks of a synekdoche, so it always depends on the expression and the meaning.


The desert ship will take us further.

The humps will take us further.

The word is replaced by another and the relationship becomes clear. Only with the Synekdoche the words are related to one another, which is not the case with the metaphor, so words are not related to one another.

Another style figure is metonymy. This resembles the Synekdoche. One could argue that metonymy is a special form of the synecdoche. The metonymy is most similar to the synecdoche. But there are also differences here. Most of the time the transition is not clearly recognizable and is described as quite "spongy".

In metonymy, a word is replaced, but the context remains the same, so the meaning remains and you can replace the words as you like without losing the meaning. To illustrate the whole thing, there is an example. The word steel replaces the word weapon in this case. The weapon is simply replaced with the name it is made of. Thus the weapon becomes real and is represented graphically.

Here, too, it would be different if the sentence were reformulated. Then the bullet represents the weapon and it is called a synecdoche, since the bullet is part of the weapon. Now it becomes clear how fluid the transitions are. The biggest difference is that the Synekdoche is part of the whole. And the metonymy replaces a word, but is related to it and cannot stand alone.


This steel will defeat you.

The bullet will defeat you.

The subspecies of the Synekdoche

There are still a few subspecies, the most popular of which are Pars pro toto and Totum pro parte. The differences lie in pars pro toto and totum pro parte, and here, too, one subdivides further.

Relationship of the part to the whole

Pars pro toto = One word for the whole
Totum pro parte = The whole stands for one word

Relationship between the specific and the general

The special stands for the general = corn for bread, the ring on the left hand for engagement

The general stands for the special = big cat for tigers, humans for Russians

Grammatical ratio

Singular stands for plural = the man is nice. The men are nice.
Plural stands for singular = where are we going?

Temporal relationship

The earlier stands for the later = corn for popcorn, malt for malt beer
The later stands for the earlier = wax for candle

The Synekdoche with more examples

In order to further deepen the whole of the Synekdoche, a few more examples follow, but without a detailed description. There the style figure is made clear again.


The army frees the people (army = soldiers, warriors)
We have to talk to each other under 6 eyes (6 eyes = three people)
Drink your glass empty (glass = drink)

Once at a glance: the most important

The term field is the same, just a different word is used for it. Metaphor and metonymy are related to the synecdoche. The boundary between metonymy and synecdoche is fluid and it is difficult to differentiate between them. There are other subspecies of the Synekdoche, but the two most important and common forms are pars pro toto and totum pro parte.

Other subspecies are only used very rarely. Since the other forms are rather unknown and the use is rarely or not at all used in the literature. But it comes from rhetoric and is still very popular today. Simply to clarify the differences and to make the boundaries clear. It is becoming increasingly difficult for the younger generation to recognize these differences.