Word of the Day

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

malapropism

\mal-uh-PROP-iz-uhm\ , noun;
1.
An act or habit of misusing words ridiculously, esp. by the confusion of words that are similar in sound.
2.
An example of such misuse.
Quotes:
At 15, Rachel, the whiny would-be beauty queen who "cares for naught but appearances," can think only of what she misses: the five-day deodorant pads she forgot to bring, flush toilets, machine-washed clothes and other things, as she says with her willful gift for malapropism, that she has taken "for granite."
-- Michiko Kakutani, "The Poisonwood Bible': A Family a Heart of Darkness", New York Times, October 16, 1998
He also had, as a former colleague puts it, "a photogenic memory"--a malapropism that captures his gift for the social side of life, his Clintonian ability to remember names of countless people he has met only briefly.
-- Eric Pooley and S.C. Gwynne, "How George Got His Groove", Time, June 21, 1999
Its success may be unusual, but brunt force is hardly the only malapropism pushing its way into our lexicon.
-- Jan Freeman, "Pony up: A tasting bar of malapropisms", Boston Globe, April 13, 2008
Origin:
A malapropism is so called after Mrs. Malaprop, a character noted for her amusing misuse of words in Richard Brinsley Sheridan's comedy The Rivals.
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