- 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.
Origin of zeugma
1515–25; < Greek zeûgma a yoking, equivalent to zeug(nýnai) to yoke1 + -ma noun suffix of result
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- 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)
C16: via Latin from Greek: a yoking, from zeugnunai to yoke
Word Origin and History for zeugmatic
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).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper