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Picture of Kalleh
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Catechresis - This is a new word for me. It means an incorrect use of a word or phrase, especially from an etymological misunderstanding. Is this a general misuse of a word, compared to malapropism where you use the wrong word, often because it sounds similar to another word?
 
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I looked it up in one-look, and found the spelling slightly different: "catachresis". Some sources say it's usually intentional, which would distinguish it from a "malaprop".

Also, as I understand it a malaprop is a confusion of entirely distinct words of similar sound ("I resemble that remark."), but the sources say a catachresis is as imprecise usage (as "blatant" for "flagrant") or a strained figure of speech (such as a mixed metaphor: "he ordered a Rolling Stones CD sight-unseen").

But a catachresis may not necessarily be an error. some say it's simply a metaphor that makes a striking or outlandish comparison, notably at odds with conventional usage. Examples found include "Honey, you are a regular nuclear meltdown. You'd better cool off." (Susan Sarandon, from the movie Bull Durham) and "To take arms against a sea of troubles."
 
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Reviving a thread...

quote:
as imprecise usage (as "blatant" for "flagrant")

This is one imprecise usage that I haven't heard about, though William Safire wrote about it in this Sunday's NY Times magazine.

Safore says that "Blatant" means "noisily offensive" and has a strong element of "brazen" or "contempuously unconcealed." However, "flagrant," rooted in "flaming," is more outrageous, and it is maybe even flouting morality or the law.

Safire said that he came out bluenosedly against the phrase "blatent sexual arousal."

Is the problem mostly that people use "blatant" when they should be using "flagrant?"
 
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Going back to catachresis versus malapropism: the former is a rhetorical term and the latter a defect, yes?


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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I've always used blatant as a near-synonym for obvious...
flagrant seems worse, for extreme cases- and implies intention where blatant may or may not.... to me!
(talking usage rather than etymology)

xxx
 
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