[ zoog-muh ]
/ ˈzug mə /

noun Grammar, Rhetoric.

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.
Compare syllepsis.

Origin of zeugma

1515–25; <Greek zeûgma a yoking, equivalent to zeug(nýnai) to yoke1 + -ma noun suffix of result


zeug·mat·ic [zoog-mat-ik], /zugˈmæt ɪk/, adjectivezeug·mat·i·cal·ly, adverb

Words nearby zeugma

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for zeugma

British Dictionary definitions for zeugma

/ (ˈzjuːɡmə) /


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)

Derived forms of zeugma

zeugmatic (zjuːɡˈmætɪk), adjectivezeugmatically, adverb

Word Origin for zeugma

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