Well, the title is misleading, because I certainly did not find myself Zip Zap Zooming My Way to Zeugma; or to the letter Z on my AtoZ Poetic Potpourri journey in any which form or way. I plodded along, played catch up a zillion times, zzzed on certain days, and of course had a couple of Zoom meetings.
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Zip Zap Zooming My Way to Zeugma
So my Z post is about the zeugma, a literary device.
What is the Zeugma?
The word comes from Greek meaning “yoking” or “bonding.” It is a figure of speech in which one word (usually a verb or an adjective) modifies or governs two or more other words in such a manner that it applies to each one differently. And in doing so, it blends (hence the yoking and bonding) together two or more grammatically and logically different ideas. For example, “I left my heart and my bag in San Francisco.”
Why and When of Zeugma?
The zeugma is economical and efficient: it helps contract two sentences into one. By linking unrelated ideas and terms, it serves as a cord; just like the yoke that is used between a pair of oxen or other animals to enable them to pull together, the zeugma brings together those different parts of a sentence in a unique and cool way.
The zeugma is effective; it helps emphasize comic and/or poetic effect as desired by the writer. It heightens the emotion the writer means to evoke, well, effectively and efficiently!
So writers and poets (and you too) use the zeugma to
- add humor
- create drama
- add an element of surprise
- produce shock value
- change the rhythm of the sentence
- deliberately confuse or confound
- have readers pause and wonder (and read things all over again, slowly this time)
- heighten emotions
- and in general, to add power to the words
So here are some examples that show you how the zeugma can accomplish its above uses:
- “She looked at the object with suspicion and a magnifying glass.” – The Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens
- “You are free to execute your laws, and your citizens, as you see fit.” – Star Trek: The Next Generation
- “The theme of the Egg Hunt is ‘learning is delightful and delicious’—as, by the way, am I.” — Allison Janney as C.J. Cregg in The West Wing
- He lost his coat and his temper.
- The farmers in the valley grew potatoes, peanuts, and bored.
- Eggs and promises are soon broken
How to Use the Zeugma? Zany Tips and Tricks
- Start with the yoke; that is the governing or linking word. For example, in the sentence, “I left my heart and bag in San Francisco.”, the linking word is ‘left’.
- Next, check to see if the yoke word makes sense with each separate linked word; as in “I left my heart”, and “I left my bag”. If it does, you are good. If it does not work at all, then you might need to rethink or rewrite it.
Some more examples to help you figure out how best to use the zeugma
- For example: “She dug for gold and for praise in the ground.” doesn’t make sense when you break it down and realize you cannot dig for praise in the ground. So maybe “She dug for gold in the ground and for praise.” is a better choice, or simply “She dug for gold and praise.”
- Another example, a phrase from Ulysses goes like this: “He works his work, I mine.” When you break it down, you realize you will not really say “I works mine”, but using the zeugma here still, well, works, and adds to the rhythm and beauty of the line.
Some More Examples of Zeugma
Essay on Man, Alexander Pope
“Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
A hero perish, or a sparrow fall,
Atoms or systems into ruin hurled,
And now a bubble burst, and now a world.”
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain
“They tugged and tore at each other’s hair and clothes, punched and scratched each other’s nose, and covered themselves with dust and glory.”
The Rape of the Lock, Alexander Pope
“Whether the nymph shall break Diana’s law,
Or some frail China-jar receive a flaw,
Or stain her honour, or her new brocade.”
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
“Yet time and her aunt moved slowly-and her patience and her ideas were nearly worn our before the tete-a-tete was over.”
The Lion King
Scar sings these words in The Lion King, “Yes, my teeth and ambitions are bared.” (Be Prepared!)
The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien
“But Ted Lavender, who was scared, carried 34 rounds when he was shot and killed outside Than Khe, and he went down under an exceptional burden, more than 20 pounds of ammunition, plus the flak jacket and helmet and rations and water and toilet paper and tranquilizers and all the rest, plus an unweighed fear.”
Have Some Madeira M’Dear (a Flanders and Swan song)
“She lowered her standards by raising her glass, / Her courage, her eyes and his hopes.”
You can listen to the song in the video below
- In the early 1970s, a chemistry professor named Paul Lauterbur developed a technique for producing images of internal organs. He called it “zeugmatography,” because it involved the joining of magnetic fields. Lauterbur was awarded a Nobel Prize, but the name he chose didn’t stick. The technique is known today as magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI. [Source]
- There is also a place called Zeugma. It is an ancient Greek city of Commagene; located in modern day Turkey. The city was named for the bridge of boats, or zeugma, that crossed the Euphrates river at that location; and Zeugma Mosaic Museum located here is one of the largest mosaic museums in the world. [Source]
h/t, References, and Further Reading
- Wikipedia’s Zeugma Page
- Merriam Webster’s Definition page
- The LitCharts Page for Zeugma
- Zeugma Poems at PoetrySoup
Author: Robert Paul Weston
Illustrator: Víctor Rivas
Length: 288 pages
Genre: Children’s Novels in Verse/Fantasy (8 – 12 years, and up)
Publisher: Razorbill; Illustrated edition (September 2, 2010)
Source: My copy and Library Copy
Description: Zorgamazoo is the story of an adventurous girl; a mysterious creature; a bizarre lottery; a secret map; an alien world; some outrageous kidnappings; and a sport that brings together the finer points of cricket, swimming and chess. It also has lobotomies. In short, it’s about saving the universe from boredom. And it rhymes—all 280 pages worth
I saw Adrienne’s review over at Goodreads
and realized she said it all, and some more!!
Everything I felt my review needs
to tell you how much this book I adore..
Yet I had to make this attempt, you see
to put pen to paper, well, fingers to keys
So I could share the many ways this book wowed me
Made me smile, laugh, and brought me the “happies!”
Zorgamazoo makes for totally zany reading,
from the beginning to the very end.
It has me wishing to go adventuring
with Katrina Katrell (and Morty) as my friend.
Be it reading Weston’s wacky rhymes
Or listening to Alan Cumming read it to you
Zorgamazoo is sure to offer great times
Make you go wow, cool, and say delightful too!!
Oh my, oh how
My mind is thinking now
In verse, in rhyme
always, all the time..
So I end this review
with this message to you
Go get this book now
A book I know you will love.
Get It Here
And Now, the End of This Post
Dear reader, as always, and always, I welcome your thoughts and suggestions, as well as recommendations. Have you read the featured book or any similar reads?
The AtoZ Challenges
You can find all my A2Z Challenge Posts here.