Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A word and a quote

catachresis

PRONUNCIATION:
(kat-uh-KREE-sis)

MEANING:
noun: The misuse of words.

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.

Flaming snowballs.
Who knew?

5 comments:

Doorman-Priest said...

Or possibly: our neighboUrs. After all, it is the English language.

Wonder Woman said...

I did not know.

:) Thanks!

MikeT said...

Better watch out, those "flaming snowballs" might also be a little light in the pants.

Wonder Woman said...

Crabs, Miket?

Kate Morningstar said...

Thanks, D-P -- Canadian ARE neighboUrs.

I think, though, Roland, that that is not so much a catechresis as it is a mixed metaphor. And there are some incredibly dense politicians up here.