Disclaimer: Catachresis was the word of the day from Merriam-Webster today.
Anyway, this is a fun little two-dollar word that would be worth ten dollars if you can slip it into a conversation at your next dinner party. It means to use a word incorrectly.
While I was thinking of a few examples of catachresis in action I had to retort to television since I never make mistakes.
Joey: Yeah! She is cool, and she’s so smart! Her mind is totally acrimonious (pronounced amonious, which is in fact not only an example of catachresis but also a malapropism, but more on those later.)
Joey: Hey, if you wanna grab a bite before work we’d better get acrimonious. No? Am I getting close?
I am afraid not, Joey. But thanks for the examples.
I am not sure when I will ever use this word outside of this blog post. Probably only on Jeopardy because that is the only stage where utterly useless knowledge is showcased and glorified.
Me: I’ll take Say Cheese! for $800, Alex.
Alex: Comical Dutch farmers know this cheese is made backwards.
Me: What is Edam? (Chuckle, snort)
Me: I’ll take Granny’s Grammar for $1200.
Alex: Joey Tribbiani’s misuse of acrimonious is an example of this grammatical gaffe.
Me: What is a catachresis? (Crowd goes wild)
I mentioned malapropisms earlier as well. These little guys are when you misspeak and use a similar resounding word to the one you were originally aiming for. Some of my favorites?
For all intensive purposes (For all intents and purposes)
Cover your basis (Cover your bases-plural of base, not basis)
Nip it in the butt (Nip it in the bud)
“Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child.” -Dan Quayle (Look up bondage if you don’t know why this is funny.)
Have any examples of the aforementioned? Share!