Definition of malapropism
1 : the usually unintentionally humorous misuse or distortion of a word or phrase; especially : the use of a word sounding somewhat like the one intended but ludicrously wrong in the context “Jesus healing those leopards” is an example of malapropism.
2 : malaprop
malapropistplay \-ˌprä-pist\ noun
malapropism was our Word of the Day on 11/02/2014. Hear the podcast!
Recent Examples of malapropism from the Web
David is a well-meaning boob who can’t shoot straight (except by accident, through the seat of his pants) and who talks in greeting-card platitudes and awkward malapropisms.
For years, players like Roberto Clemente or Orestes Miñoso, who was known as Minnie, were quoted in the press in broken English, with reporters exaggerating their malapropisms and mispronunciations.
Here is the pronunciation guide to avoiding papal malapropisms.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'malapropism'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Mrs. Malaprop, a character in Richard Sheridan's 1775 play The Rivals, was known for her verbal blunders. "He is the very pine-apple of politeness," she exclaimed, complimenting a courteous young man. Thinking of the geography of contiguous countries, she spoke of the "geometry" of "contagious countries," and she hoped that her daughter might "reprehend" the true meaning of what she was saying. She regretted that her "affluence" over her niece was small. The word malapropism derives from this blundering character's name, which Sheridan took from the French term mal à propos, meaning "inappropriate."
Origin and Etymology of malapropism
Mrs. Malaprop, character noted for her misuse of words in R. B. Sheridan's comedy The Rivals (1775)
First Known Use: 1830See Words from the same year
MALAPROPISM Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of malapropism for English Language Learners
: an amusing error that occurs when a person mistakenly uses a word that sounds like another word but that has a very different meaning
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