[ zoog-muh ]

nounGrammar, 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.: Compare syllepsis.

Origin of zeugma

First recorded in 1515–25; from Greek zeûgma “a yoking, bond,” equivalent to zeug(nýnai) “to yoke1 ” + -ma noun suffix of result

Other words from zeugma

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

Words Nearby zeugma

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How to use zeugma in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for zeugma


/ (ˈzjuːɡmə) /

  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)

Origin of zeugma

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

Derived forms of zeugma

  • zeugmatic (zjuːɡˈmætɪk), adjective
  • zeugmatically, adverb

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