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What is Malapropism?

Malapropism occurs when a word that fits the context of a sentence is substituted with another, incorrect word.

 

Don't worry- you weren't the only one who thought it was, "And to the Republic, for Richard Stands..."

 

We all make mistakes. Sometimes we get flustered when talking to someone and we use a word that is wrong, but sounds really similar to the word we’re searching for. Okay, who isn’t guilty of this one: you say “for all intensive purposes” when it should be  “for all intents and purposes.” Yup, we’ve all been there. And there’s a word for this type of mistake. Malapropism occurs when a word that fits the context of a sentence is substituted with another, incorrect word. Often this results in a humorous sentence, especially when it is done purposefully in writing. You might have also heard the word “dogberryism,” which is just another term for malapropism. Dogberryism is named after the character Dogberry in Shakespeare’s play Much Ado About Nothing. Dogberry has a knack for speaking in malapropisms by using so many super fancy words instead of simple ones to the point where he just speaks nonsense. A hint to using malapropism correctly is to pick two words that at first glance look the same, but if looked at more closely, have completely different definitions. This acts sort of like a reward for close readers- if they can catch the funny difference. 

 

Now if you mess up in a conversation, or write the wrong word in your poetry, you can impress everyone by knowing the word for what you just did!

 

Malapropisms

BY STANLEY COOPER

Malapropisms are wordy misuse

Totally fraught with wordy abuse

Linguistically, wordy erroneous

Nomenclature-ly wordy felonious


 

You malaprop felons, abusers of speech

Lovers of language, should you impeach

You stand here accused of word instability

We convict you of malapropos culpability

 

So whether you write in prose or in rhyme

We’ll strive for punishment that fits your write crime

We’ll remove your thesaurus, dictionary too

All writing for you will be strictly taboo   

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