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Cacemphaton

 

Techniques > Use of language > Figures of speech > Cacemphaton

Method | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Cacemphaton is the use either of crude words or otherwise words which sound bad.

Example

Far too smelly. (sounds like 'fart to smelly')

Thou crotch stitch.

I had preservative on toast (in many languages, 'preservative' means 'condom')

Discussion

Although cacemphaton can just be intentional vulgarity, it is often accidental.

Cacemphaton may arise from what is known as 'false friends', where a word in one language translates badly or means something different into another language or dialect. For example 'warm' in Dutch means 'not cold' (which includes 'hot'). This can be a splendid source of jokes and amusement.

Sometimes cacamphaton is useful in confusing and shocking in order to get attention. At other times it is to be avoided in order to sustain harmony.

Cacemphaton comes from the Greek for 'evil speech'.

Classification: Distortion

See also

Using humor, Attention principle

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