synecdoche

A connecting key clicking in a lock between part and whole. It may look like a ville in Lousiana, but it’s pronounced like a burg in upstate New York. Different readers are sure to find different highlights in this; many will have a strong effect of the syn – together – and some will see the ec and think of ectomorphs, ectoplasm, or ecumenism. A certain few may see a douche at the end, sans bag. It is possible that an s and n close together at the beginning of a long word may give a little hint of sn words such as snoot, snot, snood, snorkel, snicker, snip, snit, and the rest of their clan of nasal and puerile or prissy words snuffling like anteaters. On the other hand, it quickly slips from that into a tapdance, a mechanical clacking that might resemble the cocking of a rifle – or the sound of the understanding of a figure of speech clicking into place. The word may even produce a visual impression of startledness or stunnedness, with the c’s and the o between them showing the ring shape of the mouth. As to the meaning, well, any old lexicographic hand knows it, as do many bums in seats in reading rooms and theatres, and the press often make use of it: part for whole or whole for part. It’s no surprise that it comes from Greek – from a verb meaning “take with something else.”

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