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What's the literary / rhetorical / analytical term for a figurative description of an action when the description can't apply to the actor?

Asked by philip (28 points ) July 28th, 2009

I’m looking for a term, a single word in the vein of “catachresis” or “synecdoche,” that would be used in literary / rhetorical analysis to describe expressions such as “she must have poured herself into those jeans” and others in which the literal interpretation is impossible of the actor described. Personification is a particular type of the word I’m looking for: to say that a non-person acts in a way that is human is an example of something being said figuratively to do something it can’t literally, but I want a term that includes the opposite—saying e.g. that a person does something that only an object can do, or that a certain type of object does something only another type of object can do. And the word for which I am looking does not describe a process or blurring of lines, as personification does, but a stark violation or deliberate crossing of a clear line.

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