We all commit malapropisms or humorous misuse of words now and then, especially young children. My niece calls successful business people “typhoons” or storms at sea rather than “tycoons” or powerful business people, an excellent malapropism. She gets her tendency to use mixed-up words or malapropisms from her father, who insists that the government must be “physically” responsible, instead of “fiscally” or financially responsible. My favorite malapropism of my brother’s was when he stated that Winston Churchill was a man of great “statue”—instead of great “stature,” or standing.
Quiz: What is a malapropism?
- A linguistic device that uses more than one meaning of one word.
- A word spoken by mistake that is very close to the intended word.
- A phrase that makes others laugh because it is clever.