mal à propos
WHAT IS IT?
S A malapropism is the unintentional
use of incorrect similar sounding
S This happens when the speaker
uses language above his/her
understanding in order to impress.
S It may also be used to create
ORIGIN OF THE WORD
D The term malapropism come from Richard
Brinsley Sheridan's 1775 play The Rivals, and
in particular the character Mrs. Malaprop.
D Sheridan presumably named his character
Mrs. Malaprop, who frequently misused
words (to great comic effect), in joking reference to the
French mal à propos which means ‘inappropriate’.
D The alternative term "Dogberryism" comes from the 1598
Shakespearean play Much Ado About Nothing, in which
the character Dogberry produces many malapropisms with
D These slips are sometimes divided into two broad classes:
classical malapropisms, in which the mistakes are due to
ignorance and temporary slips of the tongue, in which the
intended word is known by the speaker, but has been
inadvertently replaced by another.
D "...promise to forget this fellow - to illiterate
(obliterate) him, I say, quite from your memory.“
D "...she might reprehend (comprehend) the true
meaning of what she is saying.“
I ensure (assure) you that you are safe.
Dr Octavius is Spiderman’s worst remedy (enemy).
His lonely heart found refuse (refuge) in her arms.
He made an excellent oppression (impression) on
The Bible is full of interesting caricatures
WHAT IS IT?
XThis is when the initial sounds of words are
transposed or mixed.
XSometimes the vowel sounds in the middle
of words are also transposed or mixed.
XThis happens when the speaker speaks to
quickly or does not concentrate therefore it
is also known as a “slip of the tongue”.
XIt can also be used to create humour.
ORIGIN OF THE WORD
D Spoonerisms are named after
Reverend William Archibald Spooner
(1844-1930) who was Dean and
Warden of New College in Oxford, England.
D He is reputed to have made these verbal slips
frequently, but especially when he was agitated.
D He reprimanded one student for "fighting a liar
in the quadrangle" and another who "hissed my
mystery lecture." To the latter he added in
disgust, "You have tasted two worms."
D "When our boys come home from France,
we will have the hags flung out.“
You had better tass this pest!
The boys are acting like deal rorks.
I like red belly jeans.
It has to be done at the lead of spite.
Some of the Grade 9s are fismits.
The Mini Cooper has white ricing strapes.
CORRECT THESE MALAPROPISMS &
Flying saucers are just an optical conclusion.
A rolling stone gathers no moths.
We have to wave the sails before it’s too late.
Their father was some kind of civil serpent.
The flood damage was so bad they had to
evaporate the city.
• During the storm it was roaring with pain.
• He paid with mad bunny.
• M = Flying saucers are just an optical illusion.
• M = A rolling stone gathers no moss.
• S = We have to save the whales before it’s too
• M = Their father was some kind of civil servant.
• M = The flood damage was so bad they had to
evacuate the city.
• S = During the storm it was pouring with rain.
• S = He paid with bad money.