Encyclopedia > Syllepsis

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Syllepsis is a figure of speech in which one word simultaneously modifies two or more other words such that the modification must be understood differently with respect to each modified word. This creates a semantic incongruity which is often humorous.


He leaned heavily on the podium and stale jokes.

He lost his hat and his temper.

She went home in a flood of tears and a sedan chair -- Charles Dickens

You held your breath and the door for me. -- Alanis Morrissette, in "Head Over Feet":

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