misuse or strained use of words, as in a mixed metaphor, occurring either in error or for rhetorical effect.

Nearby words

  1. catabolism,
  2. catabolite,
  3. catabolite gene activator protein,
  4. catabolize,
  5. catacaustic,
  6. catachronobiology,
  7. cataclasis,
  8. cataclastic,
  9. cataclinal,
  10. cataclysm

Origin of catachresis

1580–90; < Latin < Greek: a misuse (akin to katachrêsthai to misuse), equivalent to kata- cata- + chrêsis use (chrê(sthai) to use, need + -sis -sis)

Related formscat·a·chres·tic [kat-uh-kres-tik] /ˌkæt əˈkrɛs tɪk/, cat·a·chres·ti·cal, adjectivecat·a·chres·ti·cal·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for catachresis

British Dictionary definitions for catachresis



the incorrect use of words, as luxuriant for luxurious
Derived Formscatachrestic (ˌkætəˈkrɛstɪk) or catachrestical, adjectivecatachrestically, adverb

Word Origin for catachresis

C16: from Latin, from Greek katakhrēsis a misusing, from katakhrēsthai, from khrēsthai to use

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for catachresis



1580s, from Latin catachresis, from Greek katakhresis "misuse" (of a word), from katakhresthai "to misuse," from kata- "down" (here with a sense of "perversion;" see cata-) + khresthai "to use" (see hortatory). Related: Catachrestic; catachrestical; catachrestically.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper