MEANING: noun: The use of a word to refer to two or more words, especially in different senses. Examples: "He caught a fish and a cold" or "She lost her ring and her temper."

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin zeugma, from Greek zeugma (a joining). Ultimately from the Indo-European root yeug- (to join), which is also the ancestor of junction, yoke, yoga, adjust, juxtapose, junta, junto, syzygy, jugular, and rejoinder. Earliest documented use: 1589.

NOTES: There's a similar term, syllepsis, but the two are more or less synonymous now. You could say zeugma is joined with syllepsis. Or the distinction between zeugma and syllepsis has lapsed now.


[I would have pronounced it "TSOYG-ma"]

Other (non-original) examples, 50 years old at least (Thanks, Paul!):
"Are you going to New York or by bus?"
"Is it cooler in October or at the seashore?"


ZEUGOMA - a German cheekbone


ZENGMA - the inflexible principle of Enlightenment