meta·​lep·​sis | \ ˌmetᵊlˈepsə̇s\
plural metalepses\ -​ˌsēz \

Definition of metalepsis

: a figure of speech consisting in the substitution by metonymy of one figurative sense for another

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

History and Etymology for metalepsis

Latin, from Greek metalēpsis, literally, alteration, participation, from metalambanein to exchange, participate in, from meta- + lambanein to take

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about metalepsis

Share metalepsis

Statistics for metalepsis

Look-up Popularity

Comments on metalepsis

What made you want to look up metalepsis? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


very full or close together

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!