Definition of malapropism in English:


Line breaks: mala|prop|ism
Pronunciation: /ˈmaləprɒˌpɪz(ə)m
(US also malaprop)


  • The mistaken use of a word in place of a similar-sounding one, often with an amusing effect (e.g. ‘dance a flamingo’ instead of flamenco).
    More example sentences
    • Finally, it's also something like a malapropism, where a word is mistakenly substituted for one of similar sound shape.
    • They speak in spoonerisms and malapropisms and put forward bizarre concepts and beliefs.
    • Each day has a statement containing spoonerisms, malapropisms, contradictions, strange and unrelated facts, and misuse of words.
    wrong word, solecism, error, misuse, misusage, misapplication, infelicity, slip of the tongue


mid 19th century: from the name of the character Mrs Malaprop in Sheridan's play The Rivals (1775) + -ism.

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a slit made by cutting with a saw