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malaprop, mrs. in Culture

Malaprop, Mrs.

[(mal-uh-prop)]

A character in The Rivals, an English play from the late eighteenth century by Richard Brinsley Sheridan. Mrs. Malaprop constantly mixes up words that sound similar, declaring, for instance, “He is the very pineapple of politeness,” when she means pinnacle.

Note

Today, any comic jumbling of words like those produced by Mrs. Malaprop is called a malapropism.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.