Definition of metalepsis in English:


Pronunciation /ˌmɛtəˈlɛpsɪs/


  • The rhetorical figure consisting in the metonymical substitution of one word for another which is itself a metonym; (more generally) any metaphorical usage resulting from a series or succession of figurative substitutions.


Mid 16th century; earliest use found in Richard Sherry (b. c1505), schoolmaster and author. From post-classical Latin metalepsis, variant of classical Latin metalēmpsis (1st century a.d. in Quintilian) from ancient Greek μετάληψις alternation, succession (in Hellenistic Greek as a rhetorical term) from μετα- + -ληψις, after μεταλαμβάνειν to substitute.