Encyclopedia > Catachresis

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Catachresis is the (usually intentional) use of any figure of speech that flagrantly violates the norms of a language community. Compare malapropism.

Common forms of catachresis are:

  1. Using a word to denote something radically different from its normal meaning.
  2. Using a word out of context.
  3. Using paradoxical or contradictory logic.
  4. Creating an illogical mixed metaphor

Catachresis is often used to convey extreme emotion or alienation, and is prominent in baroque literature and, more recently, in the avant-garde.

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