3

Is there a word to describe using one thing as if it is for another purpose? For instance, Chaplin handling his cane as if it's a pool-table cue stick, or someone using a racing hurdle as a clothesline, or a bird using a stick as a fishing pole?

1

A common usage would be substitute. Chaplin substituted a cane for a pool cue. Clothesline was substituted for the missing hurdle.

1

The connotation is usually not so light, but for the cane:

misappropriate - to put to a wrong use.

It is more often used in that sense for ideas and not objects.

You could also say it's reappropriation in the case of the clothesline. Appropriate is a verb meaning "to authorize for some specific purpose," so to reappropriate would be to set aside for a new purpose.

Again, reappropriation is not generally used for objects. You hear it used to describe slurs being reconnotated into compliments.

I would not find it out of line, though, to say that the cane is misappropriated and the clothesline is reappropriated.

1

I think the word you're looking for is repurpose, which means adapt for use in a different purpose.

Source: Oxforddictionaries.com (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/repurpose)

For example, you might say that the bird repurposed the stick to use it as a fishing pole.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.