A malapropism occurs when one word is accidentally substituted for another. The result can be funny, as the great ballplayer Yogi Berra often proved:
- He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious. (Amphibious means living in water and on land. Ambidextrous means using either hand.)
- Even Napoleon had his Watergate. (Watergate was a scandal that brought down Richard Nixon. Waterloo was a battle that brought down Napoleon.)
- It ain’t the heat, it’s the humility. (Humility is a humble attitude. Humidity is moisture in the air.)
Your Turn In each of the sentences below, find the malapropism. Write down the wrong word and its meaning and then the right word and its meaning.
- Being married to only one person is called monotony.
- The storm surge and flooding made the mayor evaporate Houston.
- I wish I worked in an office instead of a cuticle.
- A rolling stone gathers no moths.
- She scores well on tests because she has a photogenic memory.
- This supposed stalker is just a pigment of your imagination.
- This photo seems to show Bigfoot, but it is just an optical conclusion.
- My father's legs are covered with very close veins.
- We won't let terrorists hold our nation hostile.
- Use an apostrophe to form a contraption.
Malapropism Mania! by Thoughtful Learning is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at k12.thoughtfullearning.com/minilesson/malapropism-mania.