Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Weird Literary Terms Part 1

"O villain! Thou wilt be condemned into everlasting redemption for this!" 
-Dogberry, Much Ado About Nothing

Dogberry "respects" the villains (i.e suspects)
The word "Malapropism" comes indirectly from the French phrase mal a propos, which means inappropriate. It is defined by when a person uses an incorrect, but similar sounding word. Richard Sheridan's character, Mrs. Malaprop, is where the word comes from, and she uses malapropisms in abundance.

Here are some examples. 

"Oh, he will dissolve this mystery!"  -i.e. resolve

"It gives me such hydrostatics to such a degree!" -i.e. hysterics

Dogberry, from Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, is probably the most famous user of malapropisms. Here are some of his gems. See if you can figure out what he actually means, and post your guesses in the comments!

"Our watch, sir, have indeed comprehended two auspicious persons, and we would have them his morning examined before your worship."

"Is the whole dissembly appeared?"

"Only get the learned writer to set down our excommunication, and meet me at the jail."

Have any of you heard (or used yourself) any malapropisms in everyday speech? Please share!
Next up is a unique type of malapropism called a mondegreen. Stay tuned!


Post Script: I am going on a family vacation to Quebec tomorrow, and won't be returning for ten days. However, I will have blog posts scheduled to be published for every few days, and Weird Literary Terms Parts 2 and 3 will be coming soon!


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