Word of the Day: Paraprosdokian

By March 11, 2015Word of the Day

Paraprosdokian (noun)


A way of speaking where the second half of a sentence changes the meaning of the first, usually in a surprising or humorous way. Often used by stand up comedians and a favourite of Groucho Marx, Mark Twain and others.

Example sentences

“Outside of a dog a book is a man’s best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read.” – Groucho Marx
“I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.” – Unknown
“You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing—after they have tried everything else.” —Winston Churchill

I love this word, and we use paraprosdokian phrases so often in this house, it’s almost become competitive. Originally from Greek and a very worthy word of the day. You can only use it if you can say it so get practising!

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