inappropriate; out of place; inopportune; untimely: a malapropos remark.


inappropriately; inopportunely.

Origin of malapropos

First recorded in 1660–70, malapropos is from the French word mal à propos badly (suited) to the purpose Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for malapropos

Historical Examples of malapropos

  • At any rate, he could not see her confusion at her own malapropos—that was something!

    When Ghost Meets Ghost

    William Frend De Morgan

  • As far as Mostyn was concerned, this first malapropos meeting indicated the whole evening.

    The Man Between

    Amelia E. Barr

  • Even her wit had deserted her; she said malapropos clever things, and got snubbed for them.

    I, Thou, and the Other One

    Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr

  • On the other hand, never express dissatisfaction with a response, however absurd or malapropos it may be.

  • They were getting out of their car just outside the gates of Uplands—a most malapropos position!

    The Lady of the Basement Flat

    Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey

British Dictionary definitions for malapropos



of an inappropriate or misapplied nature or kind


in an inappropriate way or manner


something inopportune or inappropriate

Word Origin for malapropos

C17: from French mal à propos not to the purpose
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

Word Origin and History for malapropos

1660s, from French mal à propos "inopportunely, inappropriately," literally "badly for the purpose," from mal (see mal-) + proposer "propose" (see propose).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper