April 14, 2012

Mauling Malapropism = M: Blogging from A to Z

Malapropism: Absurd or humorous misuse of a word, especially by confusion with one of similar sound.

I'll admit, I was familiar with this concept but not with this term until I was searching for interesting quotes one day. Yogi Berra, an accomplished baseball player and manager, is known for his humongous misuse of words. (okay, humorous)

Yogi Berra (from Wikipedia)
According to Wikipedia: Berra, who quit school after the eighth grade, has a tendency toward malapropism and fracturing the English language.

An example: "He hits from both sides of the plate. He's amphibious." (ambidextrous)

Before you write off malapropism as people simply destroying the English language, consider its contribution to humor.

"Well I try to look at the bright side. I guess you could say I'm an internal optometrist." (Steve Carell as Barry in Dinner for Schmucks, 2010)

Growing up, my sister used to always run around the house looking for her homework or school needs, often asking, "Have you seen my constipation notebook?" (composition) What started as misuse continued as a way to make her sisters and parents laugh.

The more I looked into malapropism, the more intrigued I became. I think I'll be visiting this topic again in the future. Since A to Z is about keeping it short, I thought I'd share a few more examples.

"It is beyond my apprehension." Danny Ozark, baseball team manager

"Listen to the blabbing brook." Norm Crosby

An a few quotes from the All in the Family Archie Bunker character, quite the master of malapropism.

"A woman doctor is only good for women's problems...like your groinocology."

"Patience is a virgin."

"I ain't a man of carnival instinctuals like you."

What's your favorite example of malapropism?

Oh, and in case you were wondering about the title of this post, I was playing around with the concept and mulling malapropism.

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I hope you enjoyed M! Please join us for N through Z, and check out other A to Z participants here.

7 comments:

Carrie Monroe said...

Great word. Yogi was really well known for his malapropisms but he also gives good advice. Love how funny these malapropisms are.

bookworm said...

My uncle, who was a college professor (organic chemistry), used to like to say (instead of the more off-color expression) "they have me by the technicals". My spouse still uses that expression, some 35 years after first hearing it.

Tia Bach said...

Carrie, Yogi did give great advice, and made us think. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Alana, Always lovely to have you drop by. I love that saying, and a great example.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Fun post. One of my favorite Yogi Berra quotes is, "Deja vu, all over again."

Robbie Schlosser said...

Thanks, Tia, I enjoyed reading your post. I love clever word games, especially their use and misuse. One of my favorite Yogi Berra quotes: "When you come to a fork in the road, take it." The word "malapropism" has an interesting history. You might be interested. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malapropism

Tia Bach said...

Susan, Yogi had so many. That's why I'll definitely be revisiting this topic after A to Z. I was trying to keep it short (so hard for me).

Robbie, Thanks. I had found that. Such great info. I'm looking forward to more malapropism!

Loving A to Z.

Julie Glover said...

Oh, I love language stuff! Malapropisms are in my queue for a post someday. You have some great ones, Tia.

I have been watching Raising Hope on Netflix (funny show), and the characters use malapropisms quite often. It's hilarious hearing their rendition of sayings.