Thursday, July 28, 2011


A paraprosdokian (pronounced /pærəprɒsˈdoʊki.ən/) is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part. It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect, sometimes producing an anticlimax. For this reason, it is extremely popular among comedians and satirists. 
 Paraprosdokian comes from Greek "παρά-", meaning "despite" and προσδοκία", meaning "expectation" but it is not a term of classical (or medieval) Greek or Latin rhetoric, but a late 20th century neologism.
A neologism is a newly coined word not yet accepted into mainstream language.

It's just a weird word to describe some linguistic fun and I thought I share some of it today.  Probably the best known modern usage of this is by Groucho Marx and to some extent Red Skelton.

  • If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.
  • War does not determine who is right-only who is left.
  • Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit.  Wisdom is not putting it in fruit salad.
  • Evening news is where they begin with 'Good Evening', and then proceed to tellyou why it isn't.
  • To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism.  To steal from many is research.
  • I didn't say it was you fault, I said I was blaming you.
  • Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.
Today you have had a language lesson and a laugh at the same time, now admit it wasn't that fun????


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