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Stylistic Devices – Synecdoche

using a part instead of the whole or vice versa

Synechdoche is some kind of generalization or specification that uses a part, a member or a characteristic of what is meant. The following possibilities are common:

Part used instead of the whole


  • Turning our long boat round […] on the last morning required all hands on deck … (hands = people) (4)

Whole used instead of a part


  • Troops halt the drivers (troops = soldiers) (3)

Specific term used instead of a general one:


  • Kashmir is their Maui, Aspen, and Palm Springs all rolled into one. (3) (siehe Anmerkung)

Note: For people from the US, every place represents a certain kind of holiday destination: Maui is a typical island in the sun, Aspen a typical ski resort, Palm Springs an attractive city with museums, theatres, shopping malls and festivals. Using the places instead of what they stand for is shorter, and the reader knows exactly that Kashmir combines everything you would expect to find in Maui, Aspen and Palm Springs.

General term used instead of a specific one:


  • The animal came closer. (animal = a certain animal, e.g. a dog, dolphin, snake)

Material used instead of the product:


  • She wore gold around her neck. (gold = chain)

see also: → Metonymy