One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The mistaken use of a word in place of a similar-sounding one, often with an amusing effect (e.g. ‘dance a flamingo’ instead of flamenco).
wrong word, solecism, error, misuse, misusage, misapplication, infelicity, slip of the tongueView synonyms
- ‘Each day has a statement containing spoonerisms, malapropisms, contradictions, strange and unrelated facts, and misuse of words.’
- ‘Of these, errors in sound, usually called malapropisms, are probably the best known.’
- ‘This is simultaneously a spelling error and a malapropism.’
- ‘All the following are 100% genuine malapropisms, as said by R and L at various times in my hearing.’
- ‘I decided against a bottle of wine as Mother had already drained her Kir with some speed and had begun to confuse her spoonerisms with her malapropisms.’
- ‘Apparently Fowler considered this to be a malapropism as they sounded similar.’
- ‘At a White House ceremony where he signed the $417 billion defense spending bill for the 2005 fiscal year, Bush uttered another of his celebrated malapropisms.’
- ‘But aside from the malaprops, whether his or someone else's attributed to him, Yogi's language always has been clean.’
- ‘And when you attack him for his malaprops, his jumbled syntax, it's good for us.’
- ‘Often a media gaffe is not an isolated malapropism but a reflection of an executive's whole attitude.’
- ‘His verbal miscues and malapropisms are the natural consequence of a man struggling with internal contradictions and a lack of self-knowledge.’
- ‘Further malapropisms were to be found last week in Ireland on Sunday.’
- ‘Finally, it's also something like a malapropism, where a word is mistakenly substituted for one of similar sound shape.’
- ‘They speak in spoonerisms and malapropisms and put forward bizarre concepts and beliefs.’
- ‘He was funny, witty, and his malaprops were almost as legendary as his Yankee teammate Yogi Berra's.’
- ‘The effect of a malapropism is usually humorous, but it can highlight quite profound connections between things.’
- ‘It's not the accent so much as the malapropisms that set them apart.’
- ‘Here is a list of student malapropisms which I have collected since I began teaching - each represents an actual student's statement!’
- ‘For example, bad malapropisms are not only excused, but also quite plainly understood.’
- ‘The funniest malapropisms and turns of phrase tend to be unintentional bloopers.’
Mid 19th century: from the name of the character Mrs Malaprop in Sheridan's play The Rivals (1775) + -ism.
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