Aristotle, and W. Rhys Roberts. Rhetoric. Mineola, NY: Dover, 2004. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Book III, chapter 3.
In this chapter Aristotle classifies four ways that one can have bad taste in language. First, “the misuse of compound words” (Aristotle III.3, B. 1406a). Strings of compound words is almost always clumsy. “Another is the employment of strange words” (Aristotle III.3, B. 1406a). Oddity for the sake of oddity is never sustainable. “A third form is the use of long, unseasonable, or frequent epithets” (Aristotle III.3, B. 1406a). While acceptable in poetry, prose should not emphasize the epithet. Finally, “[m]etaphors like other things may be inappropriate” (Aristotle III.3, B. 1406b). They may prove ridiculous or far-fetched. This does not improve writing but distracts from its purpose.