Word of the Day : November 2, 2014

malapropism

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MAL-uh-prah-piz-um noun

Definition

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

2 : an example of malapropism : malaprop

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."



Examples

Unloosing one of his frequent malapropisms, grandfather declared that by eating healthy and exercising regularly he hoped to become "nearly immoral."

"'Thank you so much,' Dunham said … to a tanned and slender young blonde who, in a rather brilliant malapropism, said, 'I’d be remorse if I didn’t stop and say how much I love your work.'" - Meghan Daum, The New York Times Magazine, September 4, 2014



Test Your Memory

What former Word of the Day begins with "i" and means "one who takes part in dialogue or conversation"? The answer is …


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