Redskins and rear ends: writing and sulking with synecdoche

September 10, 2013

Synecdoche is a figure of speech or trope that uses a part to represent a whole, or a whole to represent a part.

For example, “Hey blondie, let’s listen to Old Blue Eyes.”

Blondie calls someone by a reference to his or her blonde hair, and Old Blue Eyes is a nickname for Frank Sinatra, who most certainly had blue eyes. So in both cases, a part of the person represents the whole person.

“The Redskins missed the field goal.”

“Redskins” refers to the Redskins’ kicker, the whole team for the part who last night couldn’t quite get the pigskin through the uprights.

“Get your ass over here.”

Incidentally, one’s ass cannot arrive without the person attached to it, so the part is summoned as a way to get the whole (not hole) to arrive.

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