Epithets are words, phrases or clauses which in their attributive use disclose the individual, emotionally coloured attitude of the author towards the object he describes by emphasizing a certain property or feature. According to Kukharenko semantically epithets are divided into two groups: affective (or emotive proper – serve to convey the emotional evaluation of the object by the speaker) and transferred. This kind of epithet, like metonymy, is based on contiguity and consists in the transference of an adjective from the noun to which it properly belongs to another noun closely associated with the former noun. One of the commonest, though not the only, application of this trope is when some human quality is transferred to something inanimate.
(i) Melissa shock her doubtful curls. (Tennison) (i.e. In doubt Melissa shock her curls)
(ii) A lackey presented an obsequious cup of coffee.(Carlyle) (i.e. An obsequious lackey presented a cup of coffee) (iii) The only place left was the deck strewn with nervous cigarette butts. (Jones)
There are many familiar cases of hypallage which are no longer felt as tropes: a happy time, a criminal court, the Foreign Office, a cheap market, a weary journey, etc.