Monday, January 25, 2016

M is for Malapropism

[mal-uh-prop-iz-uh m] 

According to Literary Devices:

Malapropism in literature refers to the practice of misusing words by substituting words with similar sounding words that have different, often unconnected meanings, and thus creating a situation of confusion, misunderstanding and amusement. Malapropism is used to convey that the speaker or character is flustered, bothered, unaware or confused and as a result cannot employ proper diction. A trick to using malapropism is to ensure that the two words (the original and the substitute) sound similar enough for the reader to catch onto the intended switch and find humor in the result.

In the play Much Ado About Nothing, noted playwright William Shakespeare’s character Dogberry says, "Our watch, sir, have indeed comprehended two auspicious persons." Instead, what the character means to say is “"Our watch, sir, have indeed apprehended two suspicious persons."
Here a some hilarious examples of malapropism:
He had to use the fire distinguisher. (extinguisher)
Good punctuation means not to be late. (punctuality)
He is a wolf in cheap clothing. (sheep)
Michelangelo painted the Sixteenth Chapel. (Sistine)
Rainy weather can be hard on the sciences. (sinuses)
Having a good wife is called monotony. (monogamy)
Flying saucers are an optical conclusion. (illusion)
It is beyond my apprehension. (comprehension)

This post is a part of a collaborative project called, Blogging through the Alphabet. To read more 
click here and here


  1. I knew there was a word for those kinds of mix-ups, but I couldn't remember what it was. Some of them sound like what I heard my kids say when they were littler.

  2. We have a fair amount of them around here...and they're even funnier when the kids don't realize it!

  3. I had no ID what that literal term meant!