- The definition of a malapropism is using the wrong word for something, especially one that sounds similar.
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 malapropism; from Mrs. 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.