Mind your malapropisms


You can file this one under educational trivia, but it may come in handy when you need some small talk for a cocktail party.

Yesterday I ran into Nancy Wax at the drug store who casually mentioned that she enjoyed my recent column on "malapropisms". Huh? Mala-what? I’d never even heard the word and if I wrote a column on it I must have been writing in my sleep which would explain some of my more mnemonic, or should I say moronic column ideas. I think she was referring to a recent diatribe on infamous mispronunciations like “mameogram.”

fleesSince Nancy and I are the same age and went to the same university for a time, I’m thinking I must have cut class the day our teacher told us about poor Mrs. Malaprop who is responsible for coining the word. She was a character in an 18th century play who was notorious for misusing words. She said things like "He is the very pineapple of politeness," when she meant to say “pinnacle of politeness.” The practice is widely used today in sitcoms (on purpose to get a laugh) or by politicians (never on purpose and which get bigger laughs and is covered ad nauseam by the media.)

Four centuries later, a “malapropism” is the accepted practice of innocently using an incorrect word in place of one that is similar in pronunciation.  It can be quite humorous if you’re not the one committing the nefarious corruption of the English language.

Nancy reported she once heard a public speaker declare "Ladies’ Home Journal had quoted him so frequently he should have received a free prescription.” Another time a lady declared "ole so and so had lost so much weight he had become down right emancipated."  Emaciated might have been the better selection but hey, if I could lose a bunch of weight that would mean I was finally emancipated from my beloved Goo Goo Clusters. (Side note for other fans of Goo Goo Clusters which I thought were extinct: I discovered them on the shelves at the Dollar General.) But I digress.


Nancy’s husband Charlie remembers a story in the local newspaper about an escapee from the county jail. “It wasn’t my fault and they weren’t going to make me the “escape” goat,” declared the jailor.

Kay Riddell, a friend from Tupelo who worked for BancorpSouth said customers often call it BanCROPSouth and that the main office is located at 1 Mississippi Plasma. A Jackson reader, Huleeta Harris noted that her mother recently got lost in Jackson. She called her daughter and told her she was “lost somewhere on Fornification Street” which I thought would be an intriguing title for my upcoming novel.

“And don’t you just hate it when athaletes cover up with an aferghan,” wrote Grathan Christian.

My final warning to keep you out of trouble: Never eat a crushed Asian instead of a crustacean, and having only one wife is monogamy, not monotony.

22 thoughts on “Mind your malapropisms

  1. My daughter works for an Ophthalmologist and she tells me patients often come in to have a cadillac removed from their eye.

  2. We often have a lady in our church that sings with no instrument music, we say Acapulco

  3. When I sold West Point afghans a number of years ago, one lady called to order one of them “Africans”.

  4. Hey Mayor – I think I’m getting a “Cadillac” – dont even have to pay for it! How’s the campaign coming? Let me know if I can help.

  5. Love, love, love the column!!! I have always read it in the paper, but Nancy Griffis sent me the blog, so from now on I will be a faithful blog follower!!!

  6. は後今あなたのウェブサイトにブログ記事のいくつかを読んで、私は本当にブログのスタイルが好きです。私は私のお気に入りのサイトのリストにそれをブックマークし、すぐに戻ってチェックされます。 Plsは同様に私のインターネットサイトをチェックアウトし、私はあなたが何を聞かせ。これは素晴らしいサイトです

  7. アイブ氏はこれを読むことを意味するだけのチャンスを得たことはありませんされて。でそのImが非常に興味を持って、その問題が、私は読み始めたと私はイム嬉しいです。 Youreの素晴らしいブロガー、アイブ氏は見ている最高級の1。このブログは確かに私はちょうどを知っ波平トピックに関するいくつかの詳細を持っています。光にこのようなものをもたらしてくれてありがとう。ハウディ
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  8. 私はこの内容は、前にしばらくをブックマークしていたが、私のノートPCがクラッシュしました。私は以来、新しいものを得ている、それはこれを見つけるために私に時間がかかりました!私も実際にもデザインが好きです。このの品質に感銘を受けsharing.sincerly、クリスティン、indianelite.com、145 Bosepukur Purbapara、コルカタ、WB 700078、インド9748001647

  9. かなりのたくさんの大量に取るために、そのような細目 があります考察。つまり、ができる 素晴らしいこと起動]をポイントします。 それにもかかわらず明らかあなたが見つける 通常のインスピレーションとして、上記 私は供給します1は、引き渡す場所 本当に信仰かなり}強力な事は誠実な{良いで作業しなければなりません。 最高?私は場合tは知っているドン正| | 私は そうであっても 特定慣行は、そのような丸い問題が浮上している自信を持ってあなたの仕事は明らかに公正なゲームとして認識されていること。各少年少女真自分たちの生活の残りのために、一瞬だけの喜びの影響を感じます。ちょっと

  10. 、それを好きで、私は彼らが面白い垂直であることを識別します。申し訳なさそうな私の英語は非常に最高のexacltyではありません。スペイン語、私の隠語にこれをtransalteするとにかくがあるでしょう。それは実際に私をたくさん助けます。私は、スペイン語に英語の相互作用に近づく可能性があるため。

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