Paraprosdokian Synonym


A paraprosdokian synonym is a rhetorical device used for humorous purposes. The compound is derived from the Ancient Greek words synonymo paraprosdokia i.e. συνώνυμο meaning ‘synonym’; παράπροσδοκία, from παρά meaning ‘against’, and προσδοκία meaning ‘expectation’.

The structure of the joke usually includes two statements, questions, or clauses; the first sentence always communicates a valid message; the second reveals the fact that the first sentence was in fact a euphemism (in a paraprosdokian synonym, a euphemism – from the Ancient Greek euphemia i.e. εὐφημία, meaning ‘the use of words of good omen’ – is usually a double entendre).

Examples include:

“Maybe we can go down together,
and go to Marjorie’s party as well.”

“We could do it together,
and collaborate on the assignment as well.”

“Are you going to give me the grand tour?
And are you going to show me your apartment as well?”

“We’ll probably be on the job together for some time,
and work on the presentation as well.”

2 thoughts on “Paraprosdokian Synonym

  1. Paraprosdokian Synonym” – that’s easy for YOU to say, it’s all Greek to me!

    But very interesting.

  2. That is interesting. I suspect however, that if our brains are busy analyzing humor to such a depth as identifying a “Paraprosdokian Synonym,” we’d miss the fun of the humor entirely.

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