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MALAPROPISM

MALAPROPISM [Named after Mrs Malaprop, a character in Richard Sheridan's play The Rivals (1775), from the French mal á propos inappropriate]. An error in which a similar-sounding word is substituted for the intended one, a characteristic of the fictional Mrs Malaprop, who produced such errors as ‘pineapple’ for pinnacle (‘He is the very pineapple of politeness!’), ‘interceded’ for intercepted (‘I have interceded another letter from the fellow!’). See CONFUSIBLE, ELOCUTION, SLIP OF THE TONGUE.

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malapropism

malapropism XIX. f. name of Mrs. Malaprop, character in Sheridan's ‘The Rivals’ (1775), remarkable for her misuse of words, f. malapropos inopportune(ly) (XVII) — F. mal à propos not to the purpose; see MAL-, APROPOS, -ISM. Malaprop was formerly so used, and as adj.

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