Apparently there is a rhetorical term anthimeria meaning the use of a word as a different part of speech than its normal one, as in Calvin’s “Verbing weirds language.” (Hobbes’s response: “Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding.”) This came up in a Wordorigin.org thread (which I already posted about here); a commenter (mis)used the term, other people discussed it, and I eventually produced this cranky outburst:
What the devil is this alleged word “anthimeria,” anyway? It’s not in any dictionary, and a website I found by googling it gives this stupid derivation:
from Gk. anti- “instead of” and mereia “a part”
Do you see an -h- in there? I don’t either. If you’re going to combine anti- and mereia, what you’ll get is “antimereia” or (if you want to Latinize it) “antimeria.” And what’s the point? I’m not about to go trawling through the long, long lists of rhetorical terminology, but there’s a category for everything, and I’m sure there’s one that would cover this. And if there’s not, why go to the trouble of creating a fake-classical one that anybody with any classical education will sneer at? […] I reject this preposterous balderdash!
Then another commenter provided the etymology “(Gk anthos, ‘flower’ + meros, ‘part’),” giving this (A Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory, by J. A. Cuddon, p. 41) as a reference. I wrote: “I don’t know on what authority Cuddon gives that etymology—it could be his wild-ass guess—but it would explain the -h-. Still a malformed word, though, because now there’s no explanation for the -i- (anthos + mer– should give anthomer-; cf. anthology).”
So I’m convinced the word exists, but I’m puzzled about who created it, why it has the form it does, and why it isn’t in the OED (which generally has pretty good coverage of rhetorical terms). Anybody know anything?