Malapropism: Definition, Meaning and Examples of Malapropism

A malapropism is the use of an incorrect word in place of another especially when the incorrect word sounds similar to the correct one, resulting in a nonsensical, sometimes humorous utterance.

Malapropism is also referred to as Dogberryism, named after Officer Dogberry in Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing.” Both characters made these speech errors.

This term derives from Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s character Mrs. Malaprop, in his play The Rivals (1775). Mrs. Malaprop often misspeaks (to comic effect) by using words that do not have the meaning that she intends but which sound similar to words that do.


  1. Please request the doctor to prescribe a destitute (instead of ‘substitute) for this drug, as it is out of
    stock with the chemists of our town.
  2. He is the very pineapple of politeness!” Pineapple?! She subbed in this fruit name for “pinnacle.”
  3. Having one wife is called monotony. (monogamy)
  4. Mrs. Malaprop said, “Illiterate him quite from your memory” (obliterate)
  5. “Be sure and put some of those neutrons on it.” (croutons) – Mike Smith

Also read; Discussthe term ‘lisible’ by Roland Barthes

Also read; Asyndeton and Polysyndeton: Definition, Examples and their Importance