Leo Gorcey's character "Slip" Mahoney of the Dead End Kids and Bowery Boys was famed for his malaprops (always delivered in a Brooklyn accent), such as "a clever seduction" for "a clever deduction," "I depreciate it!" The dictionary can really do little more than suggest a hint of a glimmer of a word’s potential. Texas governor and presidential nominee Rick Perry has been known to commonly commit malapropisms, for example describing states as "lavatories of innovation and democracy" instead of "laboratories", criticizing fellow presidential nominee Mitt Romney for the "heighth of hypocrisy" instead of "height of...", and referring to the 2015 Charleston church shooting an "accident" instead of an "incident". Malapropism was one of Stan Laurel's comic mannerisms. When we hear Slip Mahoney’s malaprop we recognize the literal meaning of the word “typhoon,” and we laugh at Slip’s slip because our comprehension has already reached beyond that literal meaning that word to the context’s required homophone, tycoon. Do you know anyone else who would enjoy this? In innumerable ways, we make meaning also out of our readers’ expectations and their willingness to comprehend. And we see that Hamlet means “sullied,” but Shakespeare means “solid.” The full meaning of the word emerges only from the context of the sentence as a whole. , It was reported in New Scientist that an office worker had described a colleague as "a vast suppository of information" (i.e., repository or depository). ( Log Out / In Act 3 Scene III, she declares to Captain Absolute, "Sure, if I reprehend any thing in this world it is the use of my oracular tongue, and a nice derangement of epitaphs! In the book One of our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde, Mrs. Malaprop is included as a domestic who deals with some technical matters in the Thursday Next series. The Bushism ", Archie Bunker, a character in the American TV sitcom All in the Family, is also known for malapropisms. ( Log Out / My friend Eileen Hosey writes to let me know that she’s keeping a lookout for malaprops in my column—malaprops (or malapropisms), those linguistic flubs where one word is mistakenly used for another. An example is this statement by baseball player Yogi Berra: "Texas has a lot of electrical votes," rather than "electoral votes." Email this page to a friend.Also: Sign up for our free web site updates here. Mistress Quickly, the inn-keeper associate of Falstaff in several Shakespeare plays, is a regular user of malapropisms. Joyce wrote three novels: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, which is pretty good; Ulysses, which is the greatest novel ever written in English, and Finnegans Wake, which is an attempt to create a language in which each word carries as much meaning as possible—a language which is based in English, but goes just as far afield as Joyce’s genius can carry it. My friend Eileen Hosey writes to let me know that she’s keeping a lookout for malaprops in my column—malaprops (or malapropisms), those linguistic flubs where one word is mistakenly used for another. Malapropism finds its origins in the French phrase mal a propos, which means “inappropriate.”It is the use of an incorrect word in place of a similar-sounding word, which results in a nonsensical and humorous expression. , Definitions differ somewhat in terms of the cause of the error. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. ("I appreciate it! In Britain, malapropisms and other similar gaffes are often termed Colemanballs. According to linguist Jean Aitchison, "The finding that word selection errors preserve their part of speech suggest that the latter is an integral part of the word, and tightly attached to it. But each word seems to expand as you come upon it, growing in multifarious ways that, finally, impede the reader’s progress through the sentence and through the paragraph and ultimately through the book. ("I appreciate it! Play our free word games – INTERACTIVE HANGMAN Mrs. Malaprop's Malapropisms Here are some of the original malapropisms from the lady herself: Mrs. Malaprop in Richard Sheridan's play The Rivals (1775). ( Log Out / Change ). There is an entire section of our online wordplay bookshop devoted to malapropisms and mondegreens. Sheridan presumably chose her name in humorous reference to the word malapropos, an adjective or adverb meaning "inappropriate" or "inappropriately", derived from the French phrase, mal à propos (literally "poorly placed"). The malaprop, the pun, metaphors and similes—we think of these as literary devices germane to poetry and belles-lettres, but they work in the same way that all writing works. Leaving a party or gathering without telling anyone, typically because of mass alcohol consumption or you no longer give a damn about what's happening at the party. There’s no book on earth that can tell us how to determine whether a given word in a given context is necessary or not. " Likewise, substitutions tend to have the same number of syllables and the same metrical structure – the same pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables – as the intended word or phrase. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first recorded use of "malapropos" in English is from 1630, and the first person known to have used the word "malaprop" in the sense of "a speech error" is Lord Byron in 1814. And this is part of my beef with Strunk & White. " This nonsensical utterance might, for example, be 'corrected' to, "If I apprehend anything in this world, it is the use of my vernacular tongue, and a nice arrangement of epithets", although these are not the only words that can be substituted to produce an appropriately expressed thought in this context, and commentators have proposed other possible replacements that work just as well. Joyce gambled on our willingness to comprehend his meanings. This broader definition is sometimes called "classical malapropism", or simply "malapropism". In September 2014, I began writing a bi-weekly column "On Writing" in the Juneau Empire, the daily newspaper for Alaska's capital city. The character Oswald Bates as portrayed by Damon Wayans on the 1990s television show In Living Color was known for employing several malapropisms per sentence, albeit unintentionally. To make that determination, we have to call on everything we know from all our interactions and experiences with others of our kind—the ones who will be reading what we write. , From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core, Reported on ABC TV speaking in the Leaders Debate at the National Press Club on August 11, 2013 in Canberra, Australia, "Malapropisms and the Structure of the Mental Lexicon", "Quotations from Richard Brinsley Sheridan", Ronnie Barker monologue: Pismronunciation, "Tony Abbott - the suppository of all wisdom", "New Scientist 18 June 2005 ''Malapropism for malapropism''", Perry: Welcome to the 'Lavatory': Perry fights charges; has an "oops" - News, https://infogalactic.com/w/index.php?title=Malapropism&oldid=725735271, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, About Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core. "I am mindful not only of preserving executive powers for myself, but for predecessors as well." Leo Gorcey's character "Slip" Mahoney of the Dead End Kids and Bowery Boys was famed for his malaprops (always delivered in a Brooklyn accent), such as "a clever seduction" for "a clever deduction," "I depreciate it!" My personal favorite comes from actor Leo Gorcey, who, as Slip Mahoney in the Bowery Boys films of the 1940s, would often speak… "We are making steadfast progress."  Most definitions, however, include any actual word that is wrongly or accidentally used in place of a similar sounding, correct word. Just like Slip Mahoney’s malaprop, Hamlet laments in his first soliloquy: “Oh that this too sullied flesh would melt, thaw, and resolve itself into a dew,” the sense of his sentence calls not for “sullied.” “Sullied” means dirtied, but the context calls for “solid”: the flesh is too solid, too substantial, to dissipate in the way that Hamlet seems to wish for. Explore Malapropisms ("I appreciate it! Others famous for their malapropisms are Yogi Berra and Murray Walker. They also occur as a kind of speech error in ordinary speech.  British comedian Ronnie Barker also made great use of deliberate malapropisms in his comedy, notably in such sketches as his "Appeal on behalf of the Loyal Society for the Relief of Suffers from Pismronunciation", which mixed malapropisms and garbled words for comic effect – including news of a speech which "gave us a few well-frozen worms (i.e., well-chosen words) in praise of the society. To make matters worse he was overconfident in his delivery of haphazardly acquired vocabulary insofar that he would often correct himself, or more descriptively he would "incorrect" himself by using retroactive malapropisms. My favorite, "Africa, the dark condiment". A great memorable quote from the Bowery Bombshell movie on Quotes.net - Terence Aloysius 'Slip' Mahoney: If you gentlemen are quite through, I'd like to pass on a little choice information to ya.