catachresis

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n catachresis strained or paradoxical use of words either in error (as `blatant' to mean `flagrant') or deliberately (as in a mixed metaphor: `blind mouths')
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Catachresis (Rhet) A figure by which one word is wrongly put for another, or by which a word is wrested from its true signification; as, “To take arms against a sea of troubles”. Shak. “Her voice was but the shadow of a sound.” Young.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n catachresis In rhet.: A figure by which a word is used to designate an object, idea, or act to which it can be applied only by an exceptional or undue extension of its proper sphere of meaning: as, to stone (pelt) a person with bricks; a palatable tone; to display one's horsemanship in riding a mule; to drink from a horn of ivory. Catachresis differs from metaphor in that it does not replace one word with another properly belonging to a different act or object, but extends the use of a word in order to apply it to something for which the language supplies no separate word. A violent or inconsistent metaphor: as, to bend the knee of one's heart; to take arms against a sea of troubles. In general, a violent or forced use of a word.
    • n catachresis In philology, the employment of a word under a false form through misapprehension in regard to its origin: thus, causeway and crawfish or crayfish have their forms by catachresis.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Catachresis kat-a-krē′sis (rhet.) a figure by which a word is used in a sense different from, yet analogous to, its own: a harsh or far-fetched metaphor
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Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. fr. Gr. misuse, fr. to misuse; kata` against + to use
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L.,—Gr. katachrēsis, misuse.

Usage

In literature:

And yet, after a vast deal of such like catachresis, the orthodoxy of plagiarism remains still in dispute.
"The Continental Monthly, Vol. 2, No 3, September, 1862" by Various
Life is attributed to plants, only by a species of metaphor or catachresis.
"A Philosophical Dictionary, Volume 7 (of 10)" by François-Marie Arouet (AKA Voltaire)
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In news:

Will you use " catachresis " in a sentence today.
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