The word ‘Malapropos’ is taken from the French ‘mal a propos’, meaning inappropriate, the notion of a person who has the correct use and context of a word or term, but mixes up the pronunciation and confuses it with a similar sounding word? Make sense?
Mrs Malaprop is a character in play called ‘The Rumours’ written by an Irish playwright called R.B. Sheridan. It was a work colleague who introduced me to the term on realising I have a gift at mangling the English language at regular intervals throughout the day.
I used to think I just had a form of verbal dyslexia, so I was delighted to finally have a name for my so-called ‘condition’. If your still not following what I’m talking about, please refer below. Please bear in mind these are actual sentences I have uttered in pure seriousness to various friends and colleagues.
Conversation at work:
Colleague: I have a headache
Me: Well if its any condolence I’m not feeling too hot either
Colleague: Do you mean consolation?
Me: What have stars got to do with your headache? … (Constellation)
Conversation with a friend:
Him: I haven’t been in a relationship in ages
Me: How long has it been since you were in a monotonous relationship?
Him: Do you mean monogamous?
Colleague: Any ideas?
Me: No… Ooh hang on… I think I’m just having an epitaph!
Me: An epitaph, you know, a really good idea?
Colleague: Do you mean epiphany?
Me: Yeah, why what was I talking about?
Colleague: The writing on gravestones
Me: Oh… That’s not what I meant…
Colleague: I gathered….
Person on phone:
Phoner: Is your manager in today?
Me: He is yes
Phoner: Well I’ve been calling his office and no-one is answering
Me: Oh yes he’s finishing the report so he’s in-cognito for the day.
Phoner: What do you mean?
Me: He’s not taking calls for the day
Phoner: Oh!! You mean he’s in-communicado!?
Me: Yeah! Why what does in cognito mean?
Phoner: That he’s in disguise…
Me: No he’s in a suit
Me: I never was good at Latin, can I take a message?
In conversation to a friend about another friend:
Me: I think the world of her; she was such a ventilator for me when I was going through all that stuff
Me: Yeah, she let me vent at her, you know?
Her: Yes, but I really don’t think you can describe her as a ‘ventilator’
Me: Really? Oh well, you knew what I meant
Talking about the new Garda batons to a friend:
Me: So when are they getting their expendable batons?
Me: You know the new expendable batons they’re supposed to get?
Him: Do you mean extendable?
Me: (slightly embarrassed). You knew what I meant!
Him: What, they’re gonna throw them away every time they use them?
Me: You have a fat head.
Please, PLEASE believe me that these few were accumulated over a long period of time, and I have been known to have entirely coherent conversations on numerous occasions. By numerous I mean twice.