Tuesday, May 29, 2012


TileHead’s Word of the Day for 29 May 2012

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Word of the Day:

  ZEUGMA  (n. pl. -S)

  1. (n.) the use of a word to modify or govern two or more words, usually in such a manner that it applies to only one of them or to each in a different sense

Useful info for word game players:
  • Front hooks: (none)
  • Back hooks: -S
  • Anagrams: (none)
  • Longer extensions: zeugmaTIC
  • Wraparounds: (none)
  • Other Spellings: (none)
  • Related Forms: ZEUGMATIC (adj.)

Current theme:
Language & Words

The term ZEUGMA is often used to describe situations where a word modifies two or more other words, usually applying concretely to one and abstractly to the other, and often for humorous or emphatic effect, as in:
  • She caught a taxi and a husband 
  • He lost the match and his mind 
The word also has several technical meanings in linguistics, all applying to the way in which words are joined together — fittingly, since it comes from the Greek zeugnynai, meaning “to yoke or to join.”  In case one name for this concept is not enough, the word SYLLEPSIS, from the Greek syllambanein (“a taking together”), has an almost identical meaning.

The Scripps National Spelling Bee, the latter rounds of which will be broadcast on May 31, is a contest where unusual words and verbal legerdemain take center stage, a veritable linguistic feast for logophiles.  In honor of the nation’s most high profile competition involving words, meanings, and etymology, this week we will explore some unusual terms pertaining to language and words.

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