from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Ludicrous misuse of a word, especially by confusion with one of similar sound.
- n. An example of such misuse.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. The blundering use of an absurdly inappropriate word or expression in place of a similar sounding one.
- n. An instance of this; malaprop.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A grotesque misuse of a word; a word so used.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The act or habit of misapplying words through an ambition to use fine language.
- n. A word so misapplied.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. the unintentional misuse of a word by confusion with one that sounds similar
From malaprop.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From the name of Mrs. Malaprop, a character in the play The Rivals (1775) by Richard Brinsley Sheridan + -ism. As dramatic characters in English comic plays of this time often had allusive names, it is likely that Sheridan fashioned the name from malapropos ("inappropriate"). Mrs. Malaprop is perhaps the best-known example of a familiar comedic character archetype who unintentionally substitutes inappropriate but like-sounding words that take on a ludicrous meaning when used incorrectly. (Wiktionary)