Part of speech: noun
Origin: English, 18th century
The practice of unintentionally using the wrong word or phrase, usually to humorous effect
The act of using a malaprop
Examples of Malapropism in a sentence
"English-language learners are likely to use some comical malapropisms as they practice their skills. "
"After bungling her introduction with a malapropism she was too embarrassed to go on with the speech."
Popularity Over Time
The word malapropism comes from an English play, but playwright Richard Sheridan likely got his inspiration from the French, “mal à propos,” meaning inappropriate. The noun can refer to the linguistic tic in general, or a specific instance of malapropism.
Did you Know?
This linguistic blunder comes from the 18th-century play “The Rivals.” In it, the character Mrs. Malaprop is known for unintentionally using the wrong words in hilarious contexts. For example, exclaiming, "He is the very pine-apple (pinnacle) of politeness!”