Catachresis in Latine is called Abusio, and it is a forme of speech
wherby the speaker or writer wanting a proper word, borroweth the next
or the likest to the thing that he would signifie. An example: They
build a horse by Pallas art divine: here the Poet traduceth that to a
beast, which is proper to the making
a house. An example of Moses. “The drincke the pure blood of the
here the prophet putteth this word blood
for juyce. Salomen by this figure nameth
“the two daughters of the horsleech.” Psal.127.
Also it is sayd in the Psalme. “Let my right hand forget
her cunning” Psa.1.
: likewise the Prophet sayth,
“The sword shall devoure” Ione.46.
By the licence of this figure we give names to many things which lacke
names, as when we say, the water runne, which is improper, for to run,
is proper to those creatures which have feete, and not water which
hath none. By this forme we attribute hornes to a snaile, and feete
to a stoole, & so likewise to many other things which do lacke their
To make supply where a word wasteth
The use of
this figure is chiefly to serve in time of neede, as to yeeld a
necessarie supply for the want of a proper word.
This observation is to be
regarded, that we fetch not the
2. Not to be used too
translation too farre off, or that which is much unlike.
Secondly that we use it not oft.