Anthimeria

An Introduction to Anthimeria

Anthimeria (derives from the Greek anti “instead,” and mereia “a part”), is the substitution of one part of speechOpens in new window to accommodate another part of speech i.e., using a nounOpens in new window in place of a verbOpens in new window.

Examples of Anthimeria

  • The warriors could not defence the ball away from the goal post.
    ←(Here, the noun “defence” has been used in place of the verb “defend”)
  • Let’s hit the club tonight and have a dance.
    ←(Likewise here, the verb “dance” is supposedly applied as “noun”)
  • With the recent economic downturn we need to scissors our expenses.
    ←(“scissors” being a noun has been used instead as “verb” meaning “to cut” expenses)

Anthimeria is found in many Shakespeare’sOpens in new window famous lines:

  • “Report that I am sudden sick, quick and return!” — (Antony & Cleopatra 1.3.4)
  • “I’ll unhair thy head!” — (Antony & Cleopatra 2.5.64)
  • “His complexion is perfect gallows” — (The Tempest 1.1.32)

In the lines above, Shakespeare uses adjective in place of adverb; a noun in place of a verb, and a noun for adjective respectively.

It is commonplace these days to find nouns used in place of verbs, as in this instance; “Let's google it.” The noun “google”, is often used as a verb, as in the sentence above. Many of such usages are common nowadays, whether using them knowingly or not, neologismOpens in new window are created everyday by means of forming new words or applying already existing ones into new usage.

Further Readings:
Silva Rhetoricae, Figures | Anthimeria Opens in new window
Encyclopedia of Rhetoric and Composition: Communication from Ancient Times to the Present