A rhetorical term indicating a misuse, deliberate or not, of a figure of speech.
As, for example, the use of blatant
to mean flagrant
Or, as in MacArthur's farewell address, "I listen vainly, but with thirsty ears" (ears cannot be thirsty).
This rhetorical term
has been employed by Michel Foucault
as exemplary of one of the modes of development of writing, from synecdoche
), the first two being examples of a substition of a "subject in lieu of the whole" and "a notable circumstance", whereas catachresis is a more figurative form of substition. Thus, catachresis represents for Foucault one of the important concepts of not only what writing is, but what it can be, because in this trope we have a linguistic displacement
by which some order of things
can be altered, or subverted.
See also Gayatri Spivak
who catechretically refers to postcolonialism
by use of this term.
At question for both of these writers is the standard interpretation
that resists figurative
speech (see Thomas Sprat
on rhetoric), signified by Webster 1913
by the derisive term wrongly
in the definition