A synecdoche is a literary term describing when a part represents a whole, or vice versa. The word itself is from Latin synecdoche, which comes from the Greek word synekdokhe. Both terms carried the modern meaning, but the latter branched out more, talking about the relationship between parts and wholes in general and literally meant "accepting together or separately". Synekdokhe is a combination of three other Greek terms, which make this definition at least a little bit clearer. First, the syn part is actually the precursor of sin-, the prefix for "with", and means the same, from PIE ksun, also "with". The second component is that of ek, the precursor of ex-, the prefix for "out", and also means the same, from PIE eghs, also "out". Finally, the root of the term is dokhe, which kind of meant "receive". This derives from the Proto-Indo-European term dek, which meant something more like "to accept". As a whole, when the parts are put together, a synecdoche really just means "without accepting".
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.