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Monday, April 4, 2011


Catachresis - Though it hearkens to an ailment a person might research on WebMD, it is actually a figure of speech or implied metaphor that describes a completely impossible action, sight, sound, event or situation. It results from combining other extreme figures of speech such as anthimeria (sounds like a disease one might contract in South America), hyperbole, synaesthesia and metonymy. A writer might employ catachresis to emphasize an important aspect of a character's personality or problem, to entertain the reader or to illicit strong emotion.

An Example from Literature - Shakespeare's Hamlet says of Gertrude, "I will speak daggers to her."

My Try: Everyone stayed clear of Principal Duggan. He bitterly went through the routine of his day, biding his time until retirement, when he could at last collect his pension and escape middle school torment. No one, not teachers or students, could pinpoint the place in Mr. Duggan's career, where his heart got tangled in barbed wire. Naturally, folks around town suspected Netty had something to do with it. Of course, the barbed wire had only coiled and knotted ever tighter over the years until the odds of it being loosened now were slimmer than a Milan runway model.

Try sculpting with catachresis. Leave it as a comment, if you will.

(This blog post is brought to you as a part of the April A to Z Challenge.)

April 5th - Diacope


welcome to my world of poetry said...

Yes your c word does sound like an illness but you have written a very good account of what it can be,


Tony Payne said...

I must try and write some of these myself, I have read some really good ones.

This is a pleasant change from potentially reading 500 articles on Cats today.

Brianna said...

I'm really enjoying your ongoing story!

Once more I'm drawing a blank on using the technique!

the writing pad said...

What a great word/techniue - not familiar with it at all, although I was once in a production of Hamlet and I remember thinking that particuular line was very effective - now I know why!!
Thanks for that
All best

the writing pad said...

What a great word/technique - not familiar with it at all, although I was once in a production of Hamlet and I remember thinking the partcular line was very effective - now I know why !!
Thanks for that
All best

Mike MillerWrites said...

Your example was perfect! It brought the meaning to me and stapled it to my brain!

Mike MillerWrites said...

Thanks for teaching me about catachresis. Your 'my try' example is better than old Will's. It brought the meaning to me, and stapled it to my brain!

Chinking said...

I like your 'my try' example. It surely brought the meaning home to me, and stapled it on my brain!

Gregg said...

Very good use of the C word. I too have read enough about cats today and I truly love them and have been treated well by the two that have kept me for so long. They cause my mind to swim in sweet vanilla pudding while dancing on block of sugar cube.

Gregg Metcalf
Colossians 1:28-29

Gospel-driven Disciples

Lucy Adams said...

Mike and Greg,
Those are both superb examples of catachresis. Thank you for giving it a try.

Dawn M. Hamsher said...

My attempt:
"Her thoughts coiled around the money" until it consumed her very being. She was trapped now by the thing she despised the most.

li said...

Hi Lucy.Thanks for stopping by my blog!Miserable head cold, will stop by later and read your back posts and other blogs.. Great word/term!

Crystal Pistol said...

I saw in your profile you are a novice runner. Me too. I am preparing for a half. I ran 10 miles today. My feet were cranky, whining toddlers. "Are we there yet?"

Great C. :)

Lucy Adams said...

Good luck with the half. I haven't been able to muster that kind of committment. I hate running every time I start and love it when the run is over. But the love doesn't last as long as the hate.

It's a mental problem.


Lucy Adams said...

Very nice.

Mike said...

Sorry about the duplicate posts; it didn't seem to be taking, so I edited, edited, edited (diacope) until I finally gived up (enallage), only to discover now, that while peach attempt was working, peach was just somehow delayed. Thanks for the blog, you're a each! (Freudian slip?)