zeugma zeugma
 zoog'-ma Gk. "a yoking"
adnexio, iunctio
single supply

A general term describing when one part of speech (most often the main verb, but sometimes a noun) governs two or more other parts of a sentence (often in a series).

Zeugma is sometimes used simply as a synonym for syllepsis, though that term is better understood as a more specific kind of zeugma: when there is disparity in the way that the parallel members relate to the governing word (as a vice or for comic effect).

Zeugma comprises several more specialized terms, all of which employ ellipsis and parallelism (among the governed members of the sentence). The zeugma figures are of two types: those in which the governing word is the main verb (in which case these are subsequently categorized according to the position of that governing verb), and those in which the governing word is another part of speech (usually the subject noun).

Zeugma figures: Position of Governing Verb:

Zeugma figures: Governing Noun:

  • diazeugma
    A single subject governs several verbs or verbal constructions
  • hypozeuxis
    Every clause (in a series of parallel clauses) has its own (different) verb
  As Virgil guided Dante through Inferno, the Sibyl Aeneas Avernus. —Roger D. Scott
Through zeugma, "guided" and "through" are inferred for Sibyl and Aeneas: "As Virgil guided Dante through Inferno, the Sibyl [guided] Aeneas [through] Avernus."

Related Figures
See Also
  Sources: Ad Herennium 4.27.37-38 ("disiunctio"; "coniunctio"; "adiunctio"); Isidore 1.36.3; Sherry (1550) 29 ("zeugma," "iunctio"); Peacham (1577) E4v, K2v; Putt. (1589) 175 ("zeugma," "single supply"); Day 1599 82

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Gideon O. Burton, Brigham Young University
Please cite "Silva Rhetoricae" (rhetoric.byu.edu)

Trees | SILVA RHETORICAE | Flowers