Sunday, 1 April 2012

fallen syllepsis

A classic syllepsis, due to Dickens, is "Miss Bolo ... went straight home, in a flood of tears and a sedan-chair".  Syllepsis is a figure of speech where one word ("in" in this example) is used in two different senses simultaneously ("in a flood of tears" and "in a sedan chair").

I have a small collection of these at my website.  They are usually mildly amusing, or used for effect, resulting in a kind of mental double-take.  So I was surprised, and mildly amused, to see one today that doesn't appear to be used for these reasons:
Fresh snow and temperatures have fallen over the Cairngorms
--- BBC News, 31 March 2012
Someone must have enjoyed writing that!

And note also that, despite the date of this blog post, the original appeared yesterday.

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