Meaning of syllepsis in English:


Pronunciation /sɪˈlɛpsɪs/

nounplural noun syllepses/sɪˈlɛpsiːz/

  • 1A figure of speech in which a word is applied to two others of which it grammatically suits only one (e.g. neither they nor it is working).

    ‘Probably the most common type, however, is syllepsis, where a word is understood differently in relation to two or more other words which it modifies or governs.’
    • ‘A strong syllepsis in French, ‘Mauvais Genres’ was the title of an exhibit and debate where ‘gore’ and horror film and literature were explored.’
    • ‘More complex instances of authorial disruptions might be labeled narratological syllepses.’
    • ‘You were allowed to go right inside and just wander about until you got bored or asthma (I think that is syllepsis but I could be wrong).’
    • ‘Danny also noted that the term "syllepsis" may be more apt for certain items usually labeled zeugma.’
    1. 1.1
      another term for zeugma


Late Middle English via late Latin from Greek sullēpsis ‘taking together’.