Words at Play : Top 10 Words for Useful & Intriguing Concepts

#8: Zeugma

Definition:

the use of a word to modify or govern two or more words usually in such a manner that it applies to each in a different sense or makes sense with only one

Examples:

  • "She lost her ticket and her temper."

  • [My cousin] roars around on a shocking old motor bike – mustache and dignity flying in the morning breeze..." – Sinclair Lewis, Dodsworth

About the Word:

Zeugma comes from a Greek word meaning "to join." In ancient times, the city of Zeugma, which spanned the two sides of the Euphrates river in what is now part of southern Turkey, was a key trading link between the western Mediterranean and eastern Mesopotamia.

The Greek word zeugma was also applied to semantic structures that, like a physical bridge, connect two disparate words.

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bunkum Hear it
insincere or foolish talk
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