An example of malapropism was Archie Bunker from the American television sitcom All in the Family saying "Patience is a virgin," when he meant to say "Patience is a virtue."
- ludicrous misuse of words, esp. through confusion caused by resemblance in sound
- an instance of this (Ex.: progeny for prodigy)
Origin of malapropismfrom malaprop + -ism
- Ludicrous misuse of a word, especially by confusion with one of similar sound.
- An example of such misuse.
Origin of malapropismFrom malaprop
- (uncountable) The blundering use of an absurdly inappropriate word or expression in place of a similar sounding one.
- The script employed malapropism to great effect.
- (countable) An instance of this; malaprop.
- The translator matched every malapropism in the original with one from his own language.
- The humor comes from all the malapropisms.
From the name of Mrs. Malaprop, a character in the play The Rivals (1775) by Richard Brinsley Sheridan + -ism. As dramatic characters in English comic plays of this time often had allusive names, it is likely that Sheridan fashioned the name from malapropos (“inappropriate"). Mrs. Malaprop is perhaps the best-known example of a familiar comedic character archetype who unintentionally substitutes inappropriate but like-sounding words that take on a ludicrous meaning when used incorrectly.