Friday, June 10, 2011

Fabulously Fun Friday: Are You Misappropriating Malapropisms?

A malapropism is the use of an incorrect word in place of a similarly sounding correct word. The name comes from the character Mrs. Malaprop, from The Rivals, a comedic play by Richard Brinsley Sheridan. The character has numerous lines that illustrate the blunder that would become her namesake. Here is some of her dialogue:

  • “She’s as headstrong as an allegory on the banks of the Nile.”
  • “He is the very pineapple of politeness.”
  • “Illiterate him, I say, quite from your memory.”
  • “If I reprehend anything in this world, it is the use of my oracular tongue, and a nice derangement of epitaphs!"
  • “She would have a supercilious knowledge in accounts, and, as she grew up, I would have her instructed in geometry, that she might know something of the contagious countries. This… is what I would have a woman know; and I don’t think there is a superstitious article in it.”
The above malapropisms, of course, were engineered for comic effect, but inadvertent malapropisms can be just as humorous. These were taken from college essays:

  • “Parents try to install these virtues in their children.”
  • “He became affluent in French, Italian, Latin, and Greek.”
  • “My parents are alike and indifferent to each other.”
(A la Rinkworks)
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  1. I love the pineapple of politeness. :D

    The college essays are funny!

  2. nothing wrong with installing virtues! Just plug your USB port into child's ear and... ;)

  3. @Julie: Except I don't like pineapple! ;)

    @Ellen: Oh, so that's how that works!

  4. Wonder which are the contagious countries? Better make a note not to go there on vacation!

  5. I *always* get sick on vacation, so I don't know that it really matters to me. :p

  6. I love these things! One of my favorites is an oldie but goodie.

    Church usher to parishoner: "Hello, madam. May I sew you to your sheet?"

  7. They must have had a hard time getting to them stay in the pews at that church!

  8. "I *always* get sick on vacation..." Did you ever try the Peppermint Essential Oil, or would you rather hold a barf bag than smell like a candy cane. :p

  9. No, but I have used Thieves oil *after* getting sick.

  10. How great would it be to create a character still quoted hundreds of years from now?

  11. Maybe your character will be one of the lucky few!

  12. “Parents try to install these virtues in their children.”

    I know a few parents who would love to do just that or if that fails become "affluent in several languages."


  13. "Illiterate him..." is my favorite. Not something I should do as a teacher.

  14. @Ralfast: I speak pidgin French. Is that enough to qualify me for these untold riches of the polyglot? :p

    @Leslie: A favorite of mine is from one of the old Thin Man movies. William Powell reveals that a woman is illiterate and she gets all huffy, thinking he meant "illegitimate."

  15. Aren't they great? I got a big laugh out of them myself.

  16. These are peachy keen :).

    Heard a well-known cooking show personality say on her TV show (on a couple of different occasions): "I'm sweatin' like a bullet!"

  17. That's great! If I were a bullet about to launched out of a gun, I'd probably be sweating too. :p