Malapropism

A malapropism is the use of an incorrect word sounding similar to the word a person originally wished to use. The word malapropism has been derived from English Literature. The famous playwright, Sheridan in his play The Rivals in 1775 introduced a character known as Mrs. Malaprop who would use incorrect words that sounded similar to the word she originally wished to use. The result was a hysterical comedy.

The name is derived from the French mal à propos, which means inappropriate (we also have the word malapropos in English) Here are some classic examples of her malapropisms.

  •  “…promise to forget this fellow – to illiterate him, I say, quite from your memory.”
       [obliterate]
     

  • “O, he will dissolve my mystery!”
       [resolve]
     
  • “He is the very pine-apple of politeness!”
       [pinnacle]
     
  • “I have since laid Sir Anthony’s preposition before her;”
       [proposition]
     
  • “Oh! it gives me the hydrostatics to such a degree.”
       [hysterics]
     
  • “I hope you will represent her to the captain as an object not altogether illegible.”
       [eligible]
     
  • “…she might reprehend the true meaning of what she is saying.”
       [comprehend]
     
  • “…she’s as headstrong as an allegory on the banks of Nile.”
       [alligator]
     
  • “I am sorry to say, Sir Anthony, that my affluence over my niece is very small.”
       [influence]
     
  • “Why, murder’s the matter! slaughter’s the matter! killing’s the matter! – but he can tell you the perpendiculars.”
       [particulars]
     
  • “Nay, no delusions to the past – Lydia is convinced;”
       [allusions]
     
  • “…behold, this very day, I have interceded another letter from the fellow;”
       [intercepted]
     
  • “I thought she had persisted from corresponding with him;”
       [desisted]
     
  • “His physiognomy so grammatical!”
       [phraseology]
     
  • “I am sure I have done everything in my power since I exploded the affair;”
       [exposed]
     
  • “I am sorry to say, she seems resolved to decline every particle that I enjoin her.”
       [article]
     
  • “…if ever you betray what you are entrusted with… you forfeit my malevolence for ever…”
       [benevolence]
     
  • “Your being Sir Anthony’s son, captain, would itself be a sufficient accommodation;”
       [recommendation]
     
  • “Sure, if I reprehend any thing in this world it is the use of my oracular tongue, and a nice derangement of epitaphs!”
       [apprehend, vernacular, arrangement, epithets]

Source: http://www.fun-with-words.com/mala_malapropisms.html

Categories: General

1 reply

  1. Love your blog… Always go back when I get time.. good and intresting things to learn and know…
    absolutely love the ‘malapropism’ part…
    Harleen Bhatia

    Like

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