Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


A.Word.A.Day

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  


Home

Today's Word

Yesterday's Word

Archives

FAQ



Feb 19, 2013
This week's theme
Words for linguistic errors

This week's words
spoonerism
malapropism
Freudian slip
eggcorn
mondegreen

Discuss
Feedback
RSS/XML
Bookmark and Share Facebook Twitter Digg MySpace Bookmark and Share
A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

malapropism

PRONUNCIATION:
(MAL-uh-prop-iz-ehm)

MEANING:
noun: The humorous misuse of a word by confusing it with a similar-sounding word.
For example, "pineapple of perfection" for "pinnacle of perfection".

ETYMOLOGY:
After Mrs. Malaprop, a character in Richard Sheridan's play, The Rivals (1775), who confused words in this manner. The name Malaprop is coined from French "mal à propos" (inappropriate). Earliest documented use: 1830.

USAGE:
"Mayor Thomas Menino is sometimes made fun of for his malapropisms; he once said the city's parking shortage was 'an Alcatraz* around my neck'."
Katharine Q. Seelye; Ailing Mayor of Boston Says He's Still Up to the Job; The New York Times; Dec 17, 2012.
*albatross

See more usage examples of malapropism in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas. -Linus Pauling, chemist, peace activist, author, educator; Nobel Prize in chemistry, Nobel Peace Prize (1901-1994)

A.Word.A.Day by email:

Subscribe

"The most welcomed, most enduring piece of daily mass e-mail in cyberspace."

The New York Times

Sponsored by:

Give the Gift of Words

Share the magic of words. Send a gift subscription of A.Word.A.Day.

Anu on Words:
Writer Magazine
Globe & Mail

Interact:

Bulletin board
Wordsmith Talk

Moderated Chat
Wordsmith Chat

Readers' Voice
AWADmail

Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 2014 Wordsmith