n. pl. cat·a·chre·ses (-sēz)
1. The misapplication of a word or phrase, as the use of blatant to mean "flagrant."
2. The use of a strained figure of speech, such as a mixed metaphor.
[Latin catachrēsis, improper use of a word, from Greek katakhrēsis, excessive use, from katakhrēsthai, to misuse : kata-, completely; see CATA- + khrēsthai, to use; see gher-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
cat′a·chrestic (-krĕstĭk), cat′a·chresti·cal (-tĭ-kəl) adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.