Thursday, November 12, 2009

Word of the Day: Zeugma

Here's what we did this morning (a good variety):
  • 3x20 jumps off the bench into a squat (which Will said is an altitude drop)
  • 3x20 glute ham altitude drops
  • 100 rebound push ups on knees
  • 100 seated rebound curls with bar
  • 3 minutes extreme slow push up on knees
  • 3 minutes extreme slow wall squat
Language in general is fascinating. Although animals can communicate, they in no way have a language capacity and communication skills that humans have. It's a testament, in a big way, to the fact that God created us in His image and for His glory. We use language in interesting ways, and this new word I found today displays a little of our creativity with words (which all comes from God!):
Zeugma (pronounced zoog-muh) Basically, it means applying a single word/phrase to a succession of following words or phrases without repeating the initial phrase. This could alter the meaning if misread and often causes readers to pause while trying to understand the meaning. She sent him on ahead of her and her package. He raked all the leaves and his fingers through his hair nervously.
The use of a word to modify or govern two or more words when it is appropriate to only one of them or is appropriate to each but in a different way, as in to wage war and peace or On his fishing trip, he caught three trout and a cold. (Random House Dictionary)

A construction in which one word or phrase is understood to be related to two or more other words or phrases, while being grammatically consistent with only one of them, as with subject-verb agreement in She was upstairs, and her children downstairs. (American Heritage Dictionary) [This is not a good example. "Was (Were)" isn't repeated, but neither is the sentence open to misinterpretation.]

1586, "a single word (usually a verb or adj.) made to refer to two or more words in a sentence," from Gk., lit. "a yoking," from zeugnynai "to yoke" (see jugular). Etymology: Middle English zeuma, from Medieval Latin, from Latin zeugma, from Greek, literally, joining, from zeugnynai to join; akin to Latin jungere to join — more at yoke. Date: 15th century (Online Etymology Dictionary)

The use of a word to modify or govern two or more words usually in such a manner that it applies to each in a different sense or makes sense with only one (as in “opened the door and her heart to the homeless boy”) (Merriam Webster Dictionary)

I work on the 5th floor of a 6-floor building and frequently roam the halls on different floors (except floor 3: their doors are locked and that entire floor is inaccessible unless you have a card key). One of my favorite finds is construction in various suites. This week, they're working on floor 6 and covered the floor with plastic to protect the carpet.

Protective covering

The plastic they lay doesn't completely cover the hallway, so they lay two layers. That means air bubbles along the middle, and walking over it produces a sound like bubble wrap. Needless to say, I will be frequenting floor 6 for the next week or so. Fun times!

Air bubbles!

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