Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Say, for example, you and a group of people were all sailing out in the ocean and something happens...then you say,

"I guess we are all in the same boat"

You are literally in the same boat with everyone else, and your current situation is the same as everyone else.

Now such a phrase can be applied literally and figuratively. I was wondering if there was a word that would mean both literally and figuratively. I know this is a tad bit of an oxymoron, but I was curious to see if there was such an "all encompassing" word for this.

share|improve this question
    
Some suggest "true in both/all senses." –  dingo_dan Mar 23 at 18:10
1  
'If you'll pardon the pun, ...' –  Edwin Ashworth Mar 23 at 18:55
    
Isn't that (figuratively) ironic? –  Elliott Frisch Mar 24 at 1:49
    
I would think the figurative is usually derived from the literal, therefore literally would tend to imply figuratively. Is it feasible that people who were literally all in the same boat but would be subject to different meteorological conditions (aside from those above/below deck)? –  Jack Ryan Mar 25 at 16:34

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

It is a syllepsis:

Syllepsis Syl*lep"sis, n. [L., fr. Gr. sy`llhpsis a taking together, from ?. See {syllable}, n.] 1. (Rhet.) A figure of speech by which a word is used in a literal and metaphorical sense at the same time. [1913 Webster]

share|improve this answer
    
It's certainly not a syllepsis. While close in meaning it actually applies to a word that applies to two separate subjects the same sentence. I still can't find a solid answer to this question, however, and something tells me French is the answer –  user78237 Jun 4 at 5:04

A syllepsis is the noun. you're looking for the adverb sylleptically. meaning both, or two meanings. also I'm just throwing it out there that this is all from Archer. FTW

share|improve this answer
    
Haha yup! I heard it on that one Archer episode and here I am –  prawn Nov 14 at 5:16
    
I'm collecting acronyms on EL&U.... what is FTW? Finish The W...; For The W....; What?! Don't tell me it's a typo. –  Mari-Lou A Nov 14 at 5:51
    
FTW usually means 'for the win' –  prawn Nov 14 at 6:20
    
@prawn I never realized! I thought it was WTF in reverse. It makes more sense to me now! –  Ellie Kesselman Nov 14 at 8:14

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.