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Jul 22, 2008
This week's theme
Words about words and language

This week's words
grammatolatry
catachresis
parapraxis
lingua franca
orthoepy

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with Anu Garg

catachresis

PRONUNCIATION:
(kat-uh-KREE-sis)

MEANING:
noun: The misuse of words.

ETYMOLOGY:
Here's a catchall word for all those mixed metaphors, malapropisms, and bushisms. It derives via Latin from Greek katakhresthai (to misuse).

USAGE:
"Our neighbors to the north aren't spared the disease of catachresis, either. A Canadian politician displayed this manifestation of the illness: 'If this thing starts to snowball, it will catch fire right across the country.'"
Jaime O'Neill; A Verbal Ship Lost in a Sea of Words; San Francisco Chronicle; Sep 25, 2005.

See more usage examples of catachresis in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The noble and the nobility are usually at odds with one another. -Johann Gottfried Seume, author (1763-1810)

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