A malapropism is the unintentional and humourous misuse of a word in place of another word which it closely resembles in sound. The term is derived from Mrs. Malaprop, a character in a play written in the eighteenth century, who was constantly using expressions such as “illiterate him” for “obliterate him”.
a) For each of the contemporary examples of malapropism below, select the misued word and determine the word which was intended:
- Trespassers will be persecuted! prosecuted
- The bullet rickshawed off the wall and hit him in the leg. ricocheted
- He finished the race, dripping with inspiration. perspiration
- I like all types of books, but particularly hysterical fiction.
b) Can you come up with a malapropism? Add an example of one into the COMMENTS section of THIS post, as well as what the correct word used should be.
“Lead the way and we’ll precede.” proceed