Word Wednesday.



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 (as in “opened the door and her heart to the homeless boy”).

[Origin: Middle English zeuma, from Medieval Latin, from Latin zeugma, from Greek, literally, joining, from zeugnynai to join; akin to Latin jungere to join.]

(15th Century)

“Elinor smiled. ‘Ooh, extended metaphors.’ ‘It’ll be zeugma next.’ ‘I love it when you talk dirty to me.’ – Splinter the Silence, Val McDermid.


  1. Rob Grigjanis says

    A new word (for me, anyway)!

    The only McDermid I’ve read is The Wire in the Blood (nice TV adaptation too). Should read more.

  2. Badland says

    Flanders and Swann! Have some madeira m’dear:

    “And he said as he hastened to put out the cat, the wine, his cigar, and the lamps..”
    “She lowered her standards by raising her glass, her courage, her eyes, and his hopes.”
    “When he asked what in heaven she made no reply, up her mind, and a dash for the door.”

    Had no idea that was called zeugma. And for fairly obvious reasons I don’t find the song as funny now as I did at 15.

Leave a Reply