[ mal-uh-prop-iz-uh m ]
/ ˈmæl ə prɒpˌɪz əm /
an act or habit of misusing words ridiculously, especially by the confusion of words that are similar in sound.
an instance of this, as in “Lead the way and we'll precede.”
Made-Up Words: Twitter’s Favorite Family MalapropismsJust about every family has a word that makes sense only to them. There's even an official term for this phenomenon: malapropism, a noun that means "an act or habit of misusing words ridiculously, especially by the confusion of words that are similar in sound." So, we asked Dictionary.com fans to share some of their favorite family malapropisms and explain their backstories.
Related formsmal·a·prop·is·tic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for malapropism
/ (ˈmæləprɒpˌɪzəm) /
the unintentional misuse of a word by confusion with one of similar sound, esp when creating a ridiculous effect, as in I am not under the affluence of alcohol
the habit of misusing words in this manner
Derived Formsmalaprop or malapropian, adjective
Word Origin for malapropism
C18: after Mrs Malaprop in Sheridan's play The Rivals (1775), a character who misused words, from malapropos
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Culture definitions for malapropism
[ (mal-uh-prop-iz-uhm) ]
A humorous confusion of words that sound vaguely similar, as in “We have just ended our physical year” instead of “We have just ended our fiscal year.”
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.