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Monday, December 12, 2011

Malapropism December 12, Figures of Speech

Malapropism, the mistaken substitution of a word for one with a similar sound but different meaning.  Mrs.  Malaprop (Latin for "not appropriate") was a character in Sheridan's play, The Rivals, who was fond of saying such things as "He's the very pineapple of kindness."  Most malapropisms are unintentional, the result of faulty understanding.  I once worked under a principal who got on the intercom to warn students against "conjugating in the halls."  Norman Lear's Archie Bunker was the Twentieth Century master of malapropism, extolling Shriner's Conventions as a way to "break up the monogamy," and quoting scripture that "thou shalt not bear falsies to thy neighbor."

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