Veni, Vidi, Vici

Zeugma. From the Greek word, ζευγμα, meaning “to yoke.” One of the more interesting words that you may not have heard before…

A “zeugma” is a construction in which a single word, especially a verb or an adjective, is applied to two or more nouns when its sense is appropriate to only one of them or to both in different ways. E.g.: He took my advice and my wallet.

Incredibly, there is a word that is defined as the opposite of a zeugma: Hypozeuxis, from the Greek word, υποζευξις, hypo (slightly) + zeugma (yoke).

In a “hypozeuxis”, every clause has its own verb. E.g.:

The Republicans filibustered, the Democrats snored, and the independents complained.

Or better yet:

I came, I saw, I conquered.

Explore the art of classical and renaissance rhetoric at Silva Rhetoricæ.

» Posted: Tuesday, October 15, 2002 | Permanent Link