Z is for Zeugma


No X or Y poetry terms, but there’s one that starts with Z?! I’m as shocked as you.


“A figure of speech in which one verb or preposition joins two objects within the same phrase, often with different meanings. For example, ‘I left my heart—and my suitcase—in San Francisco.’ ”

Source: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/resources/learning/glossary-terms

Zeugma is a Greek word meaning “bonding.” It’s said to be an interesting device that can cause confusion while adding flavor. Here are a few more examples:

“His boat and his dreams sank.”

“The addict kicked the habit and then the bucket.”

“Our teeth and ambitions are bared.” (Scar from Disney’s The Lion King)

Tread lightly into zeugma usage. You’ll want to have a good reason for using them, and to make them as clear as possible to avoid creating dangling modifiers (when it isn’t clear to which subject a modifier applies).

And with that, I bid 2016’s A to Z challenge a fond zàijiàn – Chinese for goodbye!


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