Today I’m sharing a little linguistic fun by directing you to an episode of the Slate podcast, Lexicon Valley. In case you’re impatient, one of the hosts provides a definition:
the word malapropism comes from the name of a character in an 18th-century play called The Rivals by a guy named Richard Sheridan. There’s a character in the play named Mrs. Malaprop—her name Malaprop translates from the French as kind of inappropriate—and she’s always using the wrong word. So, for example, she uses the word epitaphs when she means epithets and she uses the word allegory when she means alligator, which I think is kind of a funny one. That sort of speech error is now known as a malaprop or malapropism.
Lexicon Valley is a show about the mysteries of English. Listen to the podcast. I think it’s entertaining and educational. What more could you ask for? (Don’t answer that. Just play along with me.)