Acyrologia

An Introduction to Acyrologia

Acyrologia denotes the use of a word with a wrongful semantic value which occurs when someone uses an improper word and ignores a more appropriate one; for instance: if someone says:

  • ‘snout’ of a person rather than saying ‘face’ of a person.

It is the incorrect use of words, unintended by the speaker, especially those that sound alike but are far in meaning from the speaker’s intention.

Acyrologia due to its resultant effect, functions as a tool for adding comic-features in a work of art. This figure also relates with hypallageOpens in new window — a figure where the meaningful semantic relation between words is disrupted; and malapropismOpens in new window — the mistaken use of a word in place of a similar-sounding one.

Important Hint! 

Using acyrologia reflects poor diction (word choice), thus demonstrating a low level of styleOpens in new window. This implies using the device with regards to proper and meaninful settings; so that we do not risk our selves reprimanded as low life character.

Further Readings:
Silva Rhetoricae | Figures: Acyrologia;Opens in new window
Quintilian 8.2.3 (“improprietas”);
Isidore 2.20.1;
Susenbrotus (1540) 11-12 (“acyrologia,” “acyron”);
Sherry (1550) 32 (“acyrologia,” “improprietas”).