All Words > Catachresis

illustration Catachresis



Part of speech: noun

Origin: Greek, mid-16th century


The use of a word in a way that is not correct — for example, the use of “mitigate” for “militate.”

Examples of Catachresis in a sentence

"Tina’s professor found the catachresis in her term paper so careless that he gave her a "C.""

"Joe’s catachresis and repeated mixed metaphors caused a huge misunderstanding and almost lost his company the deal."

About Catachresis

Catachresis comes from the Greek "katakhrēsthai" ("misuse"), from "kata-" ("down," expressing the sense "wrongly") and "khrēsthai" ("use").

Did you Know?

While "catachresis" and "catechism" (a summary of the principles of Christian faith) sound very similar and both come from Greek, the roots are actually different. "Catachresis" comes from the Greek "katakhrēsthai" ("misuse"), while "catechism" comes from the Greek "katēkhizein" ("teach orally, instruct by word of mouth"). A catachresis is a linguistic misuse of a word, specifically mixing up a word with a word that sounds or looks similar — such as swapping "anachronism" for "anomaly."

illustration Catachresis

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