SYNECDOCHE: Substituting a more inclusive term for a less inclusive one or vice versa
Part to Represent Whole
It is common in our language for part of something to be used to represent the whole.
- The word “bread” can be used to represent food in general or money (e.g. he is the breadwinner; music is my bread and butter).
- The word “sails” is often used to refer to a whole ship.
- The phrase "hired hands" can be used to refer to workmen.
- The word "head" refers to cattle.
- The word "wheels" refers to a vehicle.
Whole to Represent a Part
Using the whole to refer to a part is also a common practice in speech today.
- At the Olympics, you will hear that the United States won a gold medal in an event. That actually means a team from the United States, not the country as a whole.
- If “the world” is not treating you well, that would not be the entire world but just a part of it that you've encountered.
- The word "society" is often used to refer to high society or the social elite.
- The word "police" can be used to represent only one or a few police officers.
- The "pentagon" can refer to a few decision-making generals.
- "Capitol Hill" refers to both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.
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