Meaning of catachresis in English:


Pronunciation /ˌkatəˈkriːsɪs/

See synonyms for catachresis on


mass noun
  • The use of a word in an incorrect way, for example the use of mitigate for militate.

    ‘English and American studies, especially, seemed to be focusing on narrative and drama in ways that excluded from study bizarre and interesting phenomena such as obsessive rhythm and catachresis.’
    • ‘Its transformation seems more catachresis than irony, more a twisted similarity than an inversion or negation.’


Mid 16th century from Latin, from Greek katakhrēsis, from katakhrēsthai ‘misuse’, from kata- ‘down’ (expressing the sense ‘wrongly’) + khrēsthai ‘use’.