Syllepsis

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Syllepsis

 

(also called zeugma), a stylistic device consisting of the union of disparate terms in a common syntactic or semantic unit. An example of syllepsis with syntactic dissimilarity is “We love glory, we love to drown our dissipated intellect in drink” (A. S. Pushkin). This example unites direct objects which are expressed by a noun and an infinitive. An example of syllepsis with phraseological dissimilarity is I. A. Krylov’s line “The scandalmonger’s eyes and teeth flashed,” which combines the phrase “eyes flashed” with the extraneous word “teeth.” An example of syllepsis with semantic dissimilarity is “Filled with sounds and confusion” (A. S. Pushkin), which describes an emotional state and its cause. In elevated literary style, syllepsis gives an impression of nervous carelessness, and in low style it has a comic effect (“the rains and two students came”).