Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816) was an Irish satirist, poet and playwright and for many years owned the Theatre Royal in London's Drury Lane. His 1775 play The Rivals is a comedy of manners. The character, Mrs Malaprop is distinguished by her mistaken use of English to hilarious effect.
Some of Mrs Malaprop's classic lines from the play:
"Illiterate him, I say, quite from your memory.." (obliterate).
"She's as headstrong as an allegory on the banks of Nile.." (alligator).
"If I reprehend anything in this world it is the use of my oracular tongue, and a nice derangement of epitaphs!" (comprehend, vernacular, arrangement, epithets).
Almost two centuries before, William Shakespeare often used malapropisms for humor in his comedies (for example the character of Dogberry in his 1598 play, Much Ado About Nothing).
So a Malapropism (aka Dogberryism or acyrologia) is using the wrong word, which sounds like the intended word, but means something completely different. The additional humour comes out of the different meaning of the chosen word, which changes the whole interpretation of the sentence.
As a writer and word lover I find malapropisms quite hilarious and endearing, although perpetrators sometimes feel embarrassed when the gaff is pointed out, bless 'em. So it has been a hobby of mine to collect such gems as these from beloved companions and others. Many bring back fond memories and continue to make me smile..
List of Malapropisms
Post Dramatic Stress Disorder
"What did you have for tea Deb?"
"I was feeling lucky so I went for the chicken karma.."
There's no rhyme or rhythm..
That (castle) door on a chain is a drop-bridge..
Roll on anti-depressant..
I liked him (Robert Redford) in The House Whisperer..
He cut the number plate down and then shafered the edge..
I think he's a cupboard drinker..
I'll be comatoast..
He had to take the floor out in the castle turrents..
..after they've eaten their mangled slosh..
I love that Guns And Roses song, 'Sweet Man of Mine'..
Use 'Sound Dog' to detect the music..
Buying toy goal posts at City Mission: "I wasn't sure if she worked there or was a person. I didn't know if I should knock her down or take them.."
To take the disc out, do I just press 'deject'.?
All I remember from Chemistry is the Bunsten Burner..
Her dad was a helicopter driver..
You don't do the Hymen Manoeuvre any more, do you..?
The pew was bought from a desecrated church..
Hextagonal shaped lamp shade..
In salt cave - "I think they're called Stagalites.."
Can we buy some 'Sutherbies' cider..? (Somersby)
Photostating our assignments
In Venice, the people travel around the canals in gorgonzolas.
I took up aerobics to help maintain my well-propositioned figure.
His family lives in Tasmania but he died interstate..
The food in the LGH cafeteria is so bad it's not fit for human constipation.
Medieval cathedrals were supported by flying buttocks..
The mountain is named after the Reverend Starr King, who was an invertebrate climber..
The fun and excitement of childhood are nothing compared to the fun and excitement of adultery..
Got any humerous antidotes? Why not submit them for inclusion..
The Wordery: Musings and anecdotes from a Word Nerd ..
It was built in the 1430s by the English knight Sir John Fastolf (on whom Shakespeare's Falstaff is based). The building is believed to have been a strategic lookout and hunting lodge.. [more]
You always know when you've arrived for duty at Random House. If the acrid stench of stale piss doesn't get you first, then the low, almost subliminal murmur of hushed voices interspersed with the occasional cackle of maniacal laughter will. And that's just coming out of the staff room.. [more]
Andy's Asylum Tales
"I need to take a look inside your cha-cha.."
Sometimes you've just gotta say what you mean and Enrolled Nurse Bridget Hargreves wasn't beating about the bush (yet) as she attempted to escort patient June Southerby to the ladies' block, while at the same time efficiently wiping June's cheek with a kleenex. It was a regular ritual that neither enjoyed but Bridget (being the only female on-duty, heh..) tackled the task with her usual aplomb. But the woman riled.. [more]
Feeling mildly titillated? Pop over to the index page to discover more creative genius.