Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Malapropisms for Fun

I have a co-worker who has cornered the office market on malapropisms. The other day, he said something snide and followed it with, “I’m being fictitious, of course.” I was laughing too hard to get up from the floor and correct him.

He often attempts to end arguments by declaring a point “mute”. I no longer correct this error because several years’ worth of attempts has proven the effort futile (not feudal, of course). As the result of a similar slip of the tongue, we ask if you would like lemming in your tea or a glass of lemming-ade.

Such “creative” uses of language are fondly known as malapropisms. You probably harbor a favorite example or two of your own (and I welcome you to share them, here). Rather than write a tedious definition and history of the term, I’ll refer you to Dr. Bill Long and his excellent pages with examples.

You can easily find lists of malapropisms from various historical figures and from Mrs. Malaprop herself, both with and without attribution. If you’re looking for some fun with words, browse through a few of them. Enjoy!