zeugma

A zeugma is a literary term for using one word to modify two other words, in two different ways. An example of a zeugma is, “She broke his car and his heart.”

When you use one word to link two thoughts, you're using a zeugma. Some literary experts distinguish a zeugma from a syllepsis by insisting that in a zeugma, only one of the two thoughts should make literal or grammatical sense. For example, you could use the zeugma, "I lost my keys and my temper." In Greek, zeugma means "a yoking," as in yoking one word to two ideas.

Definitions of zeugma
  1. noun
    use of a word to govern two or more words though appropriate to only one
    “`Mr. Pickwick took his hat and his leave' is an example of zeugma
    see moresee less
    types:
    syllepsis
    use of a word to govern two or more words though agreeing in number or case etc. with only one
    type of:
    figure, figure of speech, image, trope
    language used in a figurative or nonliteral sense
Word Family