from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In grammar and rhetoric, a figure which consists in inversion of syntactical relation between two words, each assuming the construction which in accordance with ordinary usage would have been assigned to the Other.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Gram.) A figure consisting of a transference of attributes from their proper subjects to others. Thus Virgil says, “dare classibus austros,” to give the winds to the fleets, instead of dare classibus austris, to give the fleets to the winds.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun rhetoric, grammar A construction in which a modifier with meaning associated with one word appears grammatically applied to another, often used as literary device.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun reversal of the syntactic relation of two words (as in `her beauty's face')


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin hypallage, from Ancient Greek ὑπαλλαγή, from ὑπό ("hypo-") + ἀλλάσσειν ("to exchange").


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  • "hypallage," because one word as it were is substituted for another.

    The Orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero, Volume 4

  • The expression, ` pains and conception, 'is to be taken by the figure hypallage, [202] for the pains which they endure in consequence of conception.

    Commentary on Genesis - Volume 1

  • Ethiopians of Cush, dwelling in tents, the habitation for the inhabitant, by a hypallage.

    The Sermons of John Owen

  • There is another instance of hypallage with _nomen mite_ (a different sense of _mitis_ being used) at _Fast_ V

    The Last Poems of Ovid

  • SIDERA = = _inter sidera conuexi caeli_; the hypallage adds further to the elevation of the passage.

    The Last Poems of Ovid

  • This kind of extreme hypallage, with the true modified noun not expressed, does not however seem to be Ovid's practice, although found in the Silver poets: Statius _Theb_ IX 425 'deceptaque fulmina' means

    The Last Poems of Ovid

  • PORRECTA = is equivalent to _longa_, and belongs to _secunda_ (_sc_ syllaba) by hypallage.

    The Last Poems of Ovid

  • _ The usual explanation, which makes _insertas_ an epithet transferred by a sort of hypallage from _Luna_ to _fenestras_, is extremely violent, and makes the word little more than a repetition of _se fundebat_.

    The Aeneid of Virgil

  • _Sterili_ is transferred by hypallage from _litus_; _siccum_ serves no purpose beyond providing a balancing epithet.

    The Last Poems of Ovid

  • = Professor R.J. Tarrant points out to me the hypallage in this passage.

    The Last Poems of Ovid


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  • "Hypallage /hI-PAL-uh-jee/, known also as the transferred epithet, is a figure of speech in which the proper subject is displaced by what would logically be the object (if it were named directly). Usually hypallage is a mere idiomatic curiosity. It has a distinguished lineage -- a famous example being Shakespeare's line from Julius Caesar: "This was the most unkindest cut of all" (3.2.183). It was not the cut that was unkind, but rather the cutter. Hence the object has become the subject."

    - Garner's Usage Tip of the Day, November 19, 2007

    November 20, 2007

  • Also known as transferred epithet.

    July 23, 2008

  • Milton's phrase "If Jonson's learnèd sock be on" is another example of hypallage. Learnèd should modify Jonson, not his sock. In this figure of speech the adjective is transferred from a more appropriate noun (Milton) to a less appropriate noun (Milton's sock). (adj.) hypalletic

    September 23, 2009

  • JM reckons an hypallage is a terrible thing to waste and to waste an hypallage is a terrible thing.

    April 6, 2011