The Curious History and Meaning of the Word ‘Malapropism’

Great post! Thanks for the cool information. I especially like the reference to Dogberry in Shakespeare.Featured Image -- 1873


Interesting Literature

An interesting definition of a useful word

The word ‘malapropism’ is among the wordiest of words, denoting a misused word. Specifically, a malapropism is an erroneous word used in place of another, correct word, e.g. ‘at this pacific moment’ (rather than specific moment) or referring to a place of scientific experiment as a ‘lavatory’ rather than laboratory. So much for the technical meaning of the word ‘malapropism’ itself, but what is the history of the term?

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8 comments on “The Curious History and Meaning of the Word ‘Malapropism’

  1. Miss Marple-ism cracked me up!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Learned a new word today! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mike says:

    Seeing as my concentration in both undergraduate and graduate school was Restoration Drama, I am well aware of Mrs. Malaprop. The key to a memorable malapropism isn’t just to use the wrong word but rather to mis-use a similar word which makes the speech and therefore the speaker seem that much more ridiculous or humorous (as silent as an allegory on the banks of the Nile).

    Remember Mrs. Slipslop?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dagny says:

      No, I don’t know Mrs. Slipslop. 😦 I never actually read Sheridan’s play (looks like I should!), only know of it.


      • Mike says:

        Actually, Mrs. Slipslop is Fielding … you did read Tom Jones, right?

        Sheridan is a late Restoration dramatist and as such is a good example of the tropes developed by the real Restoration dramatists like Farquhar and Etheredge. My theses were all on William Wycherley and often were detailed analyses of those dramatic tropes like the aside.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Dagny says:

          Thanks, Mike. No – haven’t read Tom Jones either. I love 19th Century books, but never really got a taste for 18th Century books in general.


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