Series: Nerdy Semantics

Semantics is so much fun!

“The symbol z indicates an introspective judgment that the sentence is ‘zeugmatic’. The traditional term for this figure of speech is ‘zeugma’ or, more accurately, ‘syllepsis’. ‘Zeugma’ originally referred more generally to cases in which a word is shared between clauses, regardless of whether it has different senses in each context, while ‘syllepsis’ specifically refers to those cases of zeugma in which the word appears in construction with two clauses ‘while properly applying to or agreeing with only one of them … or applying to them in different senses (e.g. literal and metaphorical)’ (OED entry for syllepsis, emphasis added) The term ‘zeugma’ is now often used in this narrower sense, as equivalent to syllepsis, and more specifically, for the application of one word in different senses; […]” (Wechsler 2015: 11–12)