MEANING: verb intr.: To misuse a word by confusing it with a similar-sounding word, producing a humorous effect. For example, “pineapple of perfection” for “pinnacle of perfection” (from the play The Rivals).

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: 1959.

MAULAPROP - when you run your outboard motor in water that's too shallow
(see also MAILAPROP - to order a replacement from Sears-Roebuck)

MAL A PREOP - sick, and scheduled for surgery

GALA PROP - an easel with the sign pointing you to big party