Share this entry
syllepsis Syllabification: syl·lep·sis
Pronunciation: /səˈlepsəs/

Definition of syllepsis in English:

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
Definition of syllepsis in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources