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WORDS FOR WAYS TO PUT WORDS TOGETHER, a.k.a. Tropes, Figures of Speech, Literary Devices, Rhetoric 

Huh?  OK, I'll give you an example: tmesis.  Tmesis means "separation of parts of a compound word by the intervention of one or more words (as what place soever for whatsoever place)" according to  Another dictionary pointed out the word inserted is often a swear word, as in fanf**kingtastic.

Other interesting ways to put words together include

synecdoche: a figure of speech by which a part is put for the whole or vice versa, the species for the genus or vice versa, or the name of the material for the thing made.  For example, the poetic use of "fifty sails" for "fifty ships", or every day expressions like "Look at my new wheels!" are examples of synecdoche.  Other examples include using the whole for the part ("society" for "high society"), the species for the genus ("cutthroat" for "assassin"), the genus for the species ("a creature" for "a man"), or the material for the thing made ("boards" for "stage"). Synecdoche is similar to metonymy —

metonymy: the use of the name of one thing in place of something associated with it (such as "City Hall" for "the mayor", "the skirt" for "the pretty girl", "the crown" for "the king", "Shakespeare" for "the works of Shakespeare", etc.).

zeugma: 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", or "She left in a huff and a Chevy", or "The 1981 election proved a lot less than it cost.")  On 12/3/2003, I heard on the radio (NPR) this expression: "Time flies like an arrow; Fruit flies like a banana."  I'm told this is a pun, not zeugma.  In any case, it's a funny expression, don't you think?

syllepsis: a construction in which one word seems to be in the same relation to two or more other words, but in fact it is not.  Example: In his lectures, he leaned heavily on his desk and stale jokes.  It is hard to distinguish zeugma from syllepsis that some authorities say there isn't any difference between syllepsis and the first sense of zeugma.  Others maintain that if the sentence doesn't make any sense, then it's zeugma, but if it's witty, then it's syllepsis.

From Merriam-Webster: Charles Dickens was apparently a big fan of syllepses — his "She went home in a flood of tears and a sedan chair" is another example of one. Sentences like these are humorously incongruous, but they're not grammatically incorrect. "Syllepsis" has another meaning, however — illustrated by such sentences as "My sisters, and particularly my youngest sister, feel strongly about the matter" — and in this sense it is something to be avoided. The "sisters" sentence has a problem; it has two subjects, and only one of them agrees with the verb "feel." The word "syllepsis" derives from the Greek "syllēpsis," and ultimately from "syllambanein," meaning "to gather together." It has been used in English since at least 1550.

portmanteau: a word formed by combining both sounds and meanings from two or more words. It can also be called a frankenword (incidentally, this is another example of a portmanteau).

apophasis: the raising of an issue by claiming not to mention it

"And I won't even mention my opponent's dismal record on environmental issues," said the candidate, using apophasis to take a jab at her rival.  Merriam Webster writes: Apophasis is a sly debater's trick, a way of sneaking an issue into the discussion while maintaining plausible deniability. It should come as no surprise, then, that the roots of "apophasis" lie in the concept of denial — the word was adopted into English from Late Latin, where it means "repudiation," and derives from the Greek "apophanai," meaning "to deny." ("Apophanai," in turn, comes from "apo-," meaning "away from" or "off," and "phanai," meaning "to say.")  This particular rhetorical stunt is also known by the labels "preterition" and "paraleipsis" (which is a Greek word for "omission"), but those words are rarer than "apophasis."  Incidentally, don't confuse "apophasis" with "apophysis"; the latter is a scientific word for an expanded or projecting part of an organism.

Amphibology is, in logic, a verbal fallacy arising from ambiguity in the grammatical structure of a sentence. (Wikipedia)


Dog for sale. Will eat anything. Especially fond of children.
At our drugstore, we dispense with accuracy!
(Professor to student, on receiving a fifty-page term paper): "I shall waste no time reading it."

Meiosis: understatement with the intent to imply that something is less in significance or size than it really is.

It is a form of litotes, but where litotes often uses understatement to amplify the importance of something, meiosis aims to make its subject appear smaller. For example, a lawyer defending a schoolboy who has set fire to his school might call the act of arson a "prank."

Litotes: a form of understatement that emphasizes the magnitude of something by denying its opposite.

"The food isn't bad." is a strong recommendation.

a "Janus-faced" word is a contronum, or self-antonym -- a word with two opposite meanings.  Examples include pit and cleave. 

aphaeresis: the loss of one or more sounds or letters at the beginning of a word (as in round for around and coon for raccoon)

aphesis: aphaeresis consisting of the loss of a short unaccented vowel (as in lone for alone, or bated for abated.)

aposiopesis: The rhetorical device of suddenly breaking off in speech.

From World Wide Words, This rhetorical trick is perhaps best illustrated by examples of the use of the word. One is from Zuleika Dobson, by Max Beerbohm: “‘If you are acquainted with Miss Dobson, a direct invitation should be sent to her,’ said the Duke. ‘If you are not ...’ The aposiopesis was icy.” Another is from P G Wodehouse, in The Adventures of Sally: “‘So ...’ said Mr. Carmyle, becoming articulate, and allowed an impressive aposiopesis to take the place of the rest of the speech.”


Internet References

World Wide Words 

Related pages in this website

oxymora and more -- in particular, a "Janus-faced" word is a contronum, or self-antonym -- a word with two opposite meanings.  Examples include pit and cleave.