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zeugma

[zoog-muh]
noun Grammar, Rhetoric.
  1. the use of a word to modify or govern two or more words when it is appropriate to only one of them or 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.
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Compare syllepsis.

Origin of zeugma

1515–25; < Greek zeûgma a yoking, equivalent to zeug(nýnai) to yoke1 + -ma noun suffix of result
Related formszeug·mat·ic [zoog-mat-ik] /zugˈmæt ɪk/, adjectivezeug·mat·i·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for zeugma

Historical Examples

  • Zeugma is either upon or near the site of Bir, which is in about 37° N. Lat.

    Plutarch's Lives Volume III.

    Plutarch

  • The young prince accordingly set out, and reached the city of Zeugma in safety.

  • Lucullus appears to have crossed the Euphrates at a more northern point than Zeugma, where the river was crossed by Crassus.

    Plutarch's Lives, Volume II

    Aubrey Stewart &amp; George Long

  • There is a zeugma in speaks as applied to ‘thunder’ and ‘chains,’ unless it be taken as in both cases equivalent to denounces.

    Milton's Comus

    John Milton


British Dictionary definitions for zeugma

zeugma

noun
  1. a figure of speech in which a word is used to modify or govern two or more words although appropriate to only one of them or making a different sense with each, as in the sentence Mr. Pickwick took his hat and his leave (Charles Dickens)
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Derived Formszeugmatic (zjuːɡˈmætɪk), adjectivezeugmatically, adverb

Word Origin

C16: via Latin from Greek: a yoking, from zeugnunai to yoke
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

Word Origin and History for zeugma

n.

1580s, "a single word (usually a verb or adjective) made to refer to two or more words in a sentence," from Greek, literally "a yoking," from zeugnynai "to yoke" (see jugular).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper