• IPA: /ˈzjuːɡ.mə/, /ˈzuːɡ.mə/

zeugma (plural zeugmata)

  1. (rhetoric) The act of using a word, particularly an adjective or verb, to apply to more than one noun when its sense is appropriate to only one.
  2. (rhetoric) Syllepsis.
    • 1963 July, Fred Sommers, Types and Ontology, in The Philosophical Review, Volume LXXII, Bobbs-Merrill Reprint Series in Philosophy, [http://books.google.com/books?id=wM3B7xf9Hw8C&pg=PA343&dq=%22zeugma|zeugmas%22&hl=en&ei=pZU6Ts7FKufvmAXj18TABw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CEQQ6AEwBjgU#v=onepage&q=%22zeugma|zeugmas%22&f=false page 343],
      The existence of zeugmas suggests the rule of transitivity. Zeugmas appear incorrect because they embody an allegedly univocal use of a term in a way which violated[sic] the rule of transitivity.
    • 2008, Amanda Holton, The Sources of Chaucer's Poetics, [http://books.google.com/books?id=E6BfmmdNomoC&pg=PA105&dq=%22zeugma|zeugmas%22&hl=en&ei=faE6TqXwH8HxrQfol_T2Dw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCcQ6AEwADge#v=onepage&q=%22zeugma|zeugmas%22&f=false page 104],
      Thus I would describe 'He took his leave and the wrong umbrella' as zeugma, but not 'He took his hat and umbrella'. Zeugma is an important element in Chaucer's poetic technique, not because he uses it, but because he so regularly turns it down.
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