Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Word of the day: Synecdoche

An appropriate word of the day, considering the upcoming movie:

synecdoche \si-NEK-duh-kee\, noun:

a figure of speech by which a part is put for the whole or whole for a part or general for the special or vice versa

Photographers had to resort to visual synecdoche, hoping that a small part of the scene -- a wailing child, an emaciated mother, a pile of corpses in a freshly dug trench -- would suggest the horrors of the whole.
-- Paul Gray, Looking At Cataclysms, Time, August 1, 1994

We're using the part-for-whole type of synecdoche, for instance, when we describe a smart person as a "brain."
-- We Live by the Brand, Hartford Courant, August 9, 1995

By 1388, from Middle Latin synodoche, from Late Latin synecdoche, from Greek synekdokhe, literally "a receiving together or jointly," from synekdekhesthai "supply a thought or word, take with something else," from syn- "with" + ek "out" + dekhesthai "to receive," related to dokein "seem good".

Enjoy good words provided by (hopefully) good movie titles,


[via Dictionary.com's word of the day email list]


babs said...

still anxiously awaiting! (tho' a tad disappointed to see I've been pronouncing the word wrong - you can always tell avid readers when they try their vocabs out with mispronounced fave new words, eh?) guilty!

Bpaul said...

Guilty as charged, I was totally pronouncing it wrong as well LOL.