malapropism

[mal-uh-prop-iz-uhm]
noun
1.
an act or habit of misusing words ridiculously, especially by the confusion of words that are similar in sound.
2.
an instance of this, as in “Lead the way and we'll precede.”

Origin:
1840–50; Malaprop + -ism

malapropistic, adjective
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World English Dictionary
malapropism (ˈmæləprɒpˌɪzəm)
 
n
1.  the unintentional misuse of a word by confusion with one of similar sound, esp when creating a ridiculous effect, as in I am not under the affluence of alcohol
2.  the habit of misusing words in this manner
 
[C18: after Mrs Malaprop in Sheridan's play The Rivals (1775), a character who misused words, from malapropos]
 
'malaprop
 
adj
 
mala'propian
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

malapropism
1849, from Mrs. Malaprop, character in Sheridan's play "The Rivals" (1775), noted for her ridiculous misuse of large words (i.e. "contagious countries" for "contiguous countries"), her name coined from malapropos.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
malapropism [(mal-uh-prop-iz-uhm)]

A humorous confusion of words that sound vaguely similar, as in “We have just ended our physical year” instead of “We have just ended our fiscal year.”

Note: Mrs. Malaprop, a character in an eighteenth-century British comedy, The Rivals, by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, constantly confuses words. Malapropisms are named after her.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Search on pun, malapropisms, and language style to find sketches and monologues employing these devices.
Malapropisms and misunderstandings are standard humorous devices in the plays.
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