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[si-lep-sis] /sɪˈlɛp sɪs/
noun, plural syllepses
[si-lep-seez] /sɪˈlɛp siz/ (Show IPA).
the use of a word or expression to perform two syntactic functions, especially to modify two or more words of which at least one does not agree in number, case, or gender, as the use of are in Neither he nor we are willing.
Compare zeugma.
Origin of syllepsis
1570-80; < Medieval Latin syllēpsis < Greek sýllēpsis, equivalent to syl- syl- + lēb- (variant stem of lambánein to take) + -sis -sis
Related forms
[si-lep-tik] /sɪˈlɛp tɪk/ (Show IPA),
sylleptically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for syllepsis


noun (pl) -ses (-siːz)
(in grammar or rhetoric) the use of a single sentence construction in which a verb, adjective, etc is made to cover two syntactical functions, as the verb form have in she and they have promised to come
another word for zeugma
Derived Forms
sylleptic, adjective
sylleptically, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin, from Greek sullēpsis, from sul-syn- + lēpsis a taking, from lambanein to take
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for syllepsis

from Late Latin syllepsis, from Greek syn "together" (see syn-) + lepsis "a taking," related to lambanein (see analemma).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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