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Related to catachresis: chiasmus, zeugma


n. pl. cat·a·chre·ses (-sēz)
1. The misapplication of a word or phrase, as the use of blatant to mean "flagrant."
2. The use of a strained figure of speech, such as a mixed metaphor.

[Latin catachrēsis, improper use of a word, from Greek katakhrēsis, excessive use, from katakhrēsthai, to misuse : kata-, completely; see cata- + khrēsthai, to use; see gher- in Indo-European roots.]

cat′a·chres′tic (-krĕs′tĭk), cat′a·chres′ti·cal (-tĭ-kəl) adj.
cat′a·chres′ti·cal·ly adv.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(Linguistics) the incorrect use of words, as luxuriant for luxurious
[C16: from Latin, from Greek katakhrēsis a misusing, from katakhrēsthai, from khrēsthai to use]
catachrestic, ˌcataˈchrestical adj
ˌcataˈchrestically adv
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˌkæt əˈkri sɪs)

misuse or strained use of words, as in a mixed metaphor, occurring either in error or for rhetorical effect.
[1580–90; < Latin < Greek: a misuse =katachrê(sthai) to misuse (kata- cata- + chrêsthai to use, need) + -sis -sis)]
cat`a•chres′tic (-ˈkrɛs tɪk) cat`a•chres′ti•cal, adj.
cat`a•chres′ti•cal•ly, adv.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


Incorrect use of words.
Dictionary of Unfamiliar Words by Diagram Group Copyright © 2008 by Diagram Visual Information Limited
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.catachresis - strained or paradoxical use of words either in error (as `blatant' to mean `flagrant') or deliberately (as in a mixed metaphor: `blind mouths')
rhetorical device - a use of language that creates a literary effect (but often without regard for literal significance)
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
"Catachresis, Prosopopoeia, and the Pathetic Fallacy: the Rhetoric of Ruskin." In Poetry and Epistemology, edited by Roland Hagenbuchle and Laura Skandere.
The simultaneous presence and absence of the woman points to another rhetorical device: catachresis, which Jacques Derrida (1992) defines as the "violent and forced abusive inscription of a sign" (p.
Queer as catachresis: The Beijing queer film festival in cultural translation.
Pascal's sublime trope does its work through catachresis. As Pseudo-Dionysius (1987) writes, "incongruities are more suitable for lifting our minds up into the domain of the spiritual ...
Spivak (1990) deconstructs the idea of forced categories because we would ''insistently be aware that the master words are catachresis...
It was its use in the latter sense that inspired Poe's contemporary, Karl Marx, to coin "commodity fetishism" as a phrase of ironic subversion; "commodity fetishism" is a deliberate "catachresis, a violent yoking of the most primitive, exotic, irrational, degraded objects of human value [fetishes] with the most modern, ordinary, rational, and civilized [commodities]" (Mitchell 1986, 191).
Somewhat controversially, I call this logic 'catachresis'--the irony of irony.
(35) With Antigone, what it means to be human 'has entered into catachresis: we no longer know its proper usage' (Antigone's Claim, p82).
"Ostention, Simile, CatachresiS: Misusing Helena Viramontes's Under the Feet of Jesus to Rethink the Globalization Environmentalism Relation." Discourse 29.2-3 (2007): 346-366.
oppositionaldeployment of "catachresis." More precisely,
According to Berger, if language is tropic, lacking proper terms, then "catachresis" should be understood as the general condition of language.