What is Malapropism?

What is Malapropism

The use of an incorrect but similar-sounding word.

For example, a character might describe a Nativity scene “with angels Hoovering overhead.”

Or, “She was born with a silver plate in her in her mouth.”

You can use a malapropism to render a character who can’t be taken too seriously.


In Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, a character uses comprehended instead of apprehended and auspicious instead of suspicious.

Our watch, sir, have indeed comprehended two auspicious persons.”

In The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Bruno refers to Auschwitz as “Out-with” and the Führer as “the fury.”

We‘re all guilty of occasional malapropisms when we say things like:

  • This weather is hard on the sciences (sinuses).
  • She is an expert on the particles (particulars).
  • Some religious groups don’t practice monotony (monogamy).

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