Prozeugma (pro-zoog’-ma): A series of clauses in which the verb employed in the first is elided (and thus implied) in the others.

A. I took the money. The big screen TV. The microwave. The laptop. The coffee grinder. The rubber gloves.

B. Why did you take the rubber gloves Mr. Tronski?

A. I had intended to wash the dishes, so I put on the rubber gloves. When I left, I forgot to take them off. I forgot to wash the dishes too.

B. What were you going to do with what you had in your possession?

A. I was going to donate it to the nursing home where my mother lives. The money will be used for magazine subscriptions. The TV, entertainment. The microwave, popcorn & mac and cheese. The laptop, writing letters and receiving letters, and playing Wordscape. The coffee grinder goes without saying. The rubber gloves, thrown away.

B. Ok Tronski, we are charging you with burglary and locking you up.

A: What? I took all that stuff from my own home—it’s all mine. Just because my insane neighbor calls 911 and you “catch” me with a carload of stuff, doesn’t mean I stole it. Now I understand why I’m here.

B. My apologies Mr. Tronski. You are free to go.

A. No problem.

Mr. Tronski sped away from the police station. He was laughing at the police officer’s total stupidity. He had, indeed, committed burglary and now he was on his way to sell the stuff he had robbed. Then, he heard sirens and saw flashing lights behind him.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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