from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Syllepsis.
- n. A construction in which one word or phrase is understood to be related to two or more other words or phrases, while being grammatically consistent with only one of them, as with subject-verb agreement in She was upstairs, and her children downstairs.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. The act of using a word, particularly an adjective or verb, to apply to more than one noun when its sense is appropriate to only one.
- n. Syllepsis.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A figure by which an adjective or verb, which agrees with a nearer word, is, by way of supplement, referred also to another more remote.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A figure in grammar in which two nouns are joined to a verb suitable to only one of them, but suggesting another verb suitable to the other noun; or in which an adjective is similarly used with two nouns.
- n. [capitalized] [NL.] In entomology, a genus of hemipterous insects.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. use of a word to govern two or more words though appropriate to only one
This is usually called a zeugma; it's a purely structural way of using prepositions in an odd way, for effect e.g., humor.
Lauterbur submitted a paper to the journal Nature outlining his discovery – which he gave the rather grand name of zeumatography, from the Greek word zeugma, or yoke, to signify the fact that the technique links chemical and spatial information.
The people speak of their land as dying by a kind of zeugma, for the land deteriorates if it be not worked, and here their plea is for seed.
He calls her by a kind of zeugma "your daughter," though she is but Jacob's daughter; however, all have the disposal of her in hand.
Apparently this type of "zeugma" (yes, there are many types) is called "syllepsis."
I should note that the word "zeugma" appears in Westlaw's Allcases database 20 times -- all of them either in the name Zeugma Corp. or the title of Libert H. Boeynaems,
I'd like to give a familiar quote -- preferably from a famous song, play, novel, or movie -- that contains a zeugma, which is to say "The use of a word to modify or govern two or more words when it is ... appropriate to each but in a different way, as in to wage war and peace or On his fishing trip, he caught three trout and a cold.
2D: Have a break at 4: 00, say (take tea) - when I first learned what "zeugma" was, this was the example:
About a year ago, dhawhee wrote a post on her favorite trope in her case, zeugma.
Grant and Peter both suggest the “zeugma,” which is really too complicated to explain, while David envisages “a groovy Latin number about the Spanish question mark.”
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