Difference Between Synecdoche and Metonymy

Both synecdoche and metonymy are figures of speech in the English language. Both of them originated from the Greek language as earlier they were parts of ancient Greek rhetoric.

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The concepts sometimes cause confusion as they are sometimes overlapping, although it can be very simple too. This depends on the understanding.

Synecdoche vs Metonymy

The difference between synecdoche and metonymy is that synecdoche is a figure of speech used when describing a part of something or of a sentence used to refer to the whole portion of it. For instance, in the sentence above only, it is used to refer to the whole sentence, while metonymy is something that is used or someone is used to represent or refer to something related to it.

Synecdoche vs Metonymy

Synecdoche is a part of metonymy only and is used to refer specifically when a part of something is used to refer to a whole of it or vice versa.

It will be better to understand it with an example- it is common to call the people related to the news, the people who broadcast it, and the people who collect it called ‘the press’.

Comparison Table

Parameters of comparisonSynecdocheMetonymy
MeaningSynecdoche is a part of metonymy only and is used to refer specifically when a part of something is used to refer to a whole of it or vice versa.Metonymy is also a figure of speech used to refer to something connected to it.
What is itIt is a type of figure of speech like metaphor, personification, etc.It is also a figure of speech. 
TypeIt is part of metonymy. Although some people might not refer it to as part of metonymy, it actually is.Metonymy is just a figure of speech.
LayersSynecdoche can have multiple layers at the same time.Metonymy does not have many layers. It just has different types.
ExampleIn Canada, coins are also called loonies as they have a picture of a loon on them. Here, the loon is the synecdoche as it is used to represent all the coins.In the united states, Washington DC or just Washington is used to referring to the whole government while the white house is for referring the president and other members.

What is Synecdoche?

Synecdoche is a part of metonymy only and is used to refer specifically when a part of something is used to refer to a whole of it or vice versa.

In Canada, coins are also called loonies as they have a picture of a loon on them here. Loon is the synecdoche as it is used to represent all the coins.

What is Metonymy?

Metonymy is also a figure of speech that is used to refer to something that is connected to it.

It will be better to understand it with an example- it is common to call the people related to the news, the people who broadcast it, and the people who collect it called ‘the press’.

In the united states, Washington DC or just Washington is used to referring to the whole government while the white house is for referring the president and other members.

Main Differences Between Synecdoche and Metonymy

  1. Synecdoche can have multiple layers at the same time, but metonymy does not have many layers. It just has different types.
  2. Example for synecdoche- In Canada, coins are also called loonies as they have a picture of a loon on them here loon is the synecdoche as it is used to represent all the coins while for metonymy it is like in united states, Washington DC or just Washington is used to refer the whole government while the white house is for referring the president and other members.

References

  1. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/hllr14&section=15
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/1772425
  3. https://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199738632.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199738632-e-10
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