Tag Archives: wordplay

I love malapropisms

What is a malapropism?

mal·a·prop·ism   /ˈmæl ə prɒpˌɪzəm/     noun
1. an act or habit of misusing words ridiculously, especially by the confusion of words that are similar in sound.
2. an instance of this, as in “Lead the way and we’ll precede.”

-Random House Dictionary

I think malapropisms are an excellent form of wordplay (when used intentionally) that demonstrates mastery of the language. They’re also just plain funny. And, they can serve as sort of a test to see how “with it” your audience is. The Australian comedy Kath & Kim is rife with them, as is the short-lived American remake of it.

Some examples

  1. She’s bleeding! Somebody call an ambience!

  2. That’s too expansive for my budget.

  3. Disparate Housewives

  4. Evaporate the dance floor!

  5. This church dates back to circle 1700.

  6. Weapons of mass production

  7. The embargo will have huge economical impact.

  8. What exactly are you incinerating?

  9. I completely agree… I conquer.

  10. The database is a suppository of information.

  11. A-B-C-Malicious!

  12. Idealistically, we’ll all be there on time.

  13. Men are weary of commitment.

  14. Overcoming terrible diversity

  15. It’s been a point of pretention between us.

  16. Why is everyone conjugating in the hallways?

  17. He was diagnosed with prostrate cancer.

Add your own in the comments field below!

A word of caution

Using malapropisms can make you look unintelligent if the other party catches the discrepancy but doesn’t understand your sense of humor. So use them with care if you think your audience is in this middle territory.

Image source: http://en.chessbase.com/portals/4/files/images2/2003/ambigram03.gif