The term ‘Malapropism’ is derived from the French term mal a propos, which translates as ‘ill to purpose’. This article lists some hilarious malapropisms made by famous people, and some by the not-so-famous.
Malapropisms are the unintentional and often hilarious slips caused by the incorrect use of a word, either by ignorance or by confusion over a similar-sounding word or spelling.
The term ‘Malapropism’ was brought into popular use in the English language by the famous playwright Richard Sheridan’s Restoration Comedy of 1775, The Rivals. A character in this play is called Mrs. Malaprop, and she certainly lives up to her name, dropping clangers throughout.
Mrs. Malaprop’s Malapropisms
“…she’s as headstrong as an allegory on the banks of Nile.” (alligator)
“Why, murder’s the matter! slaughter’s the matter! killing’s the matter! – but he can tell you the perpendiculars.” (particulars)
“Nay, no delusions to the past – Lydia is convinced;” (allusions)
“His physiognomy so grammatical!” (phraseology)
“I am sure I have done everything in my power since I exploded the affair.” (exposed)
“He is the very pine-apple of politeness!” (pinnacle)
“…if ever you betray what you are entrusted with… you forfeit my malevolence for ever…” (benevolence)
“I hope you will represent her to the captain as an object not altogether illegible.”
“…promise to forget this fellow – to illiterate him, I say, quite from your memory.”
“O, he will dissolve my mystery!” (resolve)
“Sure, if I reprehend anything in this world it is the use of my oracular tongue, and a nice derangement of epitaphs!” (apprehend, vernacular, arrangement, epithets)
“Oh! it gives me the hydrostatics to such a degree.” (hysterics)
Malapropisms by the Well-known Folks
They have miscalculated me as a leader. ~ George Bush II
We are making steadfast progress. ~ George Bush II
I am mindful not only of preserving executive powers for myself, but for predecessors as well.” ~ George Bush II
Natural gas is hemispheric… because it is a product that we can find in our neighborhoods. ~ George Bush II
Oftentimes, we live in a processed world, you know, people focus on the process and not results. ~ George Bush II
Listen to the blabbing brook. ~ Norm Crosby
This is unparalyzed in the state’s history. ~ Gib Lewis, Texas Speaker of the House
Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child. ~ Dan Quayle, US Vice President
He was a man of great statue. ~ Thomas Menino, Boston mayor
The police are not here to create disorder; they’re here to preserve disorder. ~ Richard Daley, former Chicago mayor
Marie Scott… has really plummeted to the top. ~ Alan Weeks
Tomorrow never knows ~ Ringo Starr
And Some by the Unknown Folks
Let’s get down to brass roots.
You’ve sent her barking up the wrong dog.
I’m dropping our goalkeeper, he’s too erotic.
As soon as I got home, she gave me the Spanish armada.
If my grandfather was alive today, he’d be turning in his grave.
I remember the incident, it was a terrible frackashay.
You can plead with me until the cows come home blue in the face.
I’ve no idea how many, it’s a case of put your finger in the wind and blow.
It’ll open a whole new set of gates.
I got stuck in the revolting doors.
It wasn’t my fault, even the police said I was totally blameworthy.
That’s good news, that’ll bring bells to your ears.
If you’re a lucky person, you’re laughing on a pig’s back.
Like I say, I’m trying to tie up a loose hole.
You can lead a horse to manure, but you can’t make him drink.
We’re thinly skating on ice.
We’re torn between two boats on this one.
We’ve sent messages till we’re thick in the head.
Neither of us could figure out the plumbing so I took out his cock, stuck my own in, and everything was rosie-dosie.
Typical of him, he’s always playing tail end Charlie with someone else’s arse.
No, he’s running by the skin of his own arse.
He thinks he can teach a budgie to suck seeds.
He’s inexperienced and green behind the ears.
She does the first thing that jumps out of her head.
Their father was some kind of civil serpent.
He went away with his head between his tail.
A rolling stone gathers no moths.
The water round there has no alcohol in it, it runs on salt instead.
I’ll have to put my tongue between my teeth on this.
At the concert, they had a Philipinnian on the bomb-bombs.
That’s a great film, ‘The Sheepshank Redemption’.
Flying saucers are just an optical conclusion.
The steam train broke down and two fire hydrogens had to come out to fix it.
If there’s anything else atomized in here, we’ll all be replaced by an adenoid.