malapropism

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n malapropism the unintentional misuse of a word by confusion with one that sounds similar
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n malapropism A grotesque misuse of a word; a word so used.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n malapropism The act or habit of misapplying words through an ambition to use fine language.
    • n malapropism A word so misapplied.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Malapropism mal′a-prop-izm the act of misapplying words, in the attempt to use fine language, from Mrs Malaprop in Sheridan's play, The Rivals.
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Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
From Mrs. Malaprop, , a character in Sheridan's drama, “ The Rivals,” who makes amusing blunders in her use of words. See Malapropos

Usage

In literature:

She is a genuine Mrs. Malaprop, isn't she?
"Thankful's Inheritance" by Joseph C. Lincoln
Jephson is rather bitten by a taste for all that "teleopathy" business, as the old Malaprop calls it.
"The Disentanglers" by Andrew Lang
I did "Mrs. Malaprop," "Widow Pottle," and the old ladies.
"Stories of Achievement, Volume IV (of 6)" by Various
Mrs. Malaprop uses her words in a delightfully wrong sense.
"Thackeray" by Anthony Trollope
Why, Mrs. Malaprop, in moderation, now, what would you have a woman know?
"Standard Selections" by Various
Malapropisms and old nurses are, of course, inseparable.
"A Boswell of Baghdad" by E. V. Lucas
Enter Mrs. Malaprop and Sir Anthony Absolute.
"The Ontario High School Reader" by A.E. Marty
Isabel collected malaprops and wrote them out in a note book.
"Miss Mapp" by Edward Frederic Benson
Malaprop is puzzled to know what people mean when they talk of the present alarming Junction of affairs.
"Mr. Punch's Railway Book"
Mrs. Candour, Mrs. Malaprop, Sir Benjamin Backbite, and the brothers Surface were already there.
"From the Easy Chair, series 2" by George William Curtis
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In news:

Thus spake the forty-second president of the United States — a president not famous for malapropism or contempt for science.
A toast to those who have committed portmanteaux and malaprops.
Street performer and busker Shameless Aimless does her take on the old sideshow standard, the blockhead act, in front of Malaprop's bookstore and cafe in downtown Asheville, North Carolina.
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