V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary



Definition: mistaken use of a word that sounds like the intended word, but is often humorously inappropriate

Synonyms: malaprop, slip, slip of the tongue


Tips: The term malapropism was formed from the name "Mrs. Malaprop," a character in a Richard Sheridan play who often confused similar sounding words in a funny way. This likely came from the related adjective malapropos, which means "improper, inappropriate, or out of place," literally, "ill suited for the given purpose." Think of the negative mal (not) and the adjective proper.

Usage Examples:

Knowing a lot of vocabulary words is only worthwhile if you can use them correctly and not in malapropisms. (malapropos, slips)

Many political cartoons have derided President Bush for some of his malapropisms or, as they have coined them, "Bushisms." (slips of the tongue)

One famous malapropism is the confusion of taking something for granted with taking it "for granite." (malapropos, slip)

He tries desperately to seem intelligent by using big, intellectual words, but they usually come out as malapropisms, and we all have to roll our eyes and chuckle. (inappropriate or incorrect word use)

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