Definition of syllepsis in English:

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Pronunciation: /səˈlepsəs/

noun (plural syllepses /-sēz/)

A figure of speech in which a word is applied to two others in different senses (e.g., caught the train and a bad cold) or to two others of which it grammatically suits only one (e.g., neither they nor it is working). Compare with zeugma.
Example sentences
  • 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.



Pronunciation: /səˈleptik/


Late Middle English: via late Latin from Greek sullēpsis 'taking together'.

Words that rhyme with syllepsis

prolepsis, sepsis

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: syl·lep·sis

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