What does malapropism mean?

Definitions for malapropismˈmæl ə prɒpˌɪz əm

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word malapropism.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. malapropism, malaprop(noun)

    the unintentional misuse of a word by confusion with one that sounds similar


  1. malapropism(Noun)

    The blundering use of an absurdly inappropriate word or expression in place of a similar sounding one.

  2. malapropism(Noun)

    An instance of this; malaprop.

  3. Origin: From the name of Mrs. Malaprop, a character in the play The Rivals (1775) by Richard Brinsley Sheridan + -ism. As dramatic characters in English comic plays of this time often had allusive names, it is likely that Sheridan fashioned the name from malapropos. Mrs. Malaprop is perhaps the best-known example of a familiar comedic character archetype who unintentionally substitutes inappropriate but like-sounding words that take on a ludicrous meaning when used incorrectly.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Malapropism(noun)

    a grotesque misuse of a word; a word so used

  2. Origin: [From Mrs. Malaprop, a character in Sheridan's drama, The Rivals, who makes amusing blunders in her use of words. See Malapropos.]


  1. Malapropism

    A malapropism is the use of an incorrect word in place of a word with a similar sound, resulting in a nonsensical, often humorous utterance. An example is Yogi Berra's statement: "Texas has a lot of electrical votes," rather than "electoral votes". The word malapropism comes ultimately from the French mal à propos meaning "inappropriate" via "Mrs. Malaprop", a character in the Richard Brinsley Sheridan comedy The Rivals as who habitually misused her words. Dogberryism comes from "Officer Dogberry", the name of a character in William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. These are the two best-known fictional characters who made this kind of error—there are many other examples. Malapropisms also occur as errors in natural speech. Malapropisms are often the subject of media attention, especially when made by politicians or other prominent individuals. The philosopher Donald Davidson has noted that malapropisms show how complex the process is by which the brain translates thoughts into language.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Malapropism

    mal′a-prop-izm, n. the act of misapplying words, in the attempt to use fine language, from Mrs Malaprop in Sheridan's play, The Rivals.


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of malapropism in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of malapropism in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Sample Sentences & Example Usage

  1. Alanis Morissette:

    I didn't realize the degree of which the malapropism would trigger this furor. I think people are up in arms about the idea of being stupid and I'm perfectly aware that there's a big part of me that's very very dumb and very very brilliant - it depends when you catch me - so I don't personally care but I can see it's a big deal for people.

Images & Illustrations of malapropism

  1. malapropismmalapropismmalapropism

Translations for malapropism

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for malapropism »


Find a translation for the malapropism definition in other languages:

Select another language:

Discuss these malapropism definitions with the community:

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:     


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"malapropism." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2018. Web. 23 Apr. 2018. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/malapropism>.

Are we missing a good definition for malapropism? Don't keep it to yourself...

Nearby & related entries:

Alternative searches for malapropism:

Thanks for your vote! We truly appreciate your support.