Catachresis

Entertainment / Literature / Catachresis: (Grk. 'misuse') A completely impossible figure of speech or an implied metaphor that results from combining other extreme figures of speech such as anthimeria, hyperbole, synaesthesia, and metonymy. The results in each case are so unique that it is hard to state a general figure of speech that embodies all of the possible results. It is far easier to give examples. For instance, Hamlet says of Gertrude, 'I will speak daggers to her.' A man can speak words, but no one can literally speak daggers. In spite of that impossibility, readers know Shakespeare means Hamlet will address Gertrude in a painful, contemptuous way. In pop culture from the 1980s, the performer Meatloaf tells a disappointed lover, 'There ain't no Coup de Ville hiding the bottom of a crackerjack box.' The image of a luxury car hidden as a prize in the bottom of a tiny cardboard candybox emphasizes how unlikely or impossible it is his hopeful lover will find such a fantastic treasure in someone as cheap, common, and unworthy as the speaker in these lyrics. Sometimes the catachresis results from stacking one impossibility on top of another.

Abusio

Entertainment / Literature / Abusio: A type of catachresis known as the 'mixed metaphor.' The term is often used in a derogatory manner. See discussion and examples under catachresis. MORE

Kenning

Entertainment / Literature / Kenning: A form of compounding in Old English, Old Norse, and Germanic poetry. In this poetic device, the poet creates a new compound word or phrase to describe an object or activity. Specifically, this compou MORE

Hypallage

Entertainment / Literature / Hypallage: Combining two examples of hyperbaton or anastrophe when the reversed elements are not grammatically or syntactically parallel. It is easier to give examples than to explain hypallage. Virgil writes, ' MORE

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