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.
History & Origin
Zeugma (1580s) stems from the Greek word of the same spelling which literally meant “a yoking,” from zeugnynai "to yoke," derived from the Proto-Indo-European *yeug- “to join” (the shared root of Sanskrit yugam "yoke," yunjati “binds, harnesses,” yogah “union;” Hittite yugan “yoke;” Greek zygon “yoke;” Old Church Slavonic igo, Old Welsh iou “yoke;” Lithuanian jungas “yoke,” jungiu “fastened in a yoke;” Old English geoc “yoke;” probably also Latin iuxta “close by”).
In zeugma, unlike syllepsis, the single word does not fit grammatically or idiomatically with one member of the pair. Thus, the first example below would be syllepsis, the second zeugma:
"You are free to execute your laws, and your citizens, as you see fit."(Star Trek: The Next Generation)
"Kill the boys and the luggage!" (Fluellen in William Shakespeare’s Henry V)
"His first novel was filled with strange and humorous zeugma, like, ‘It’s a small apartment. I have barely enough room to lay my hat and a few friends.’”