A Malaprop Post from a few years back


Mrs Malaprop the famous character

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

Long pause

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?

Long pause

Me: Maybe…

Another Colleague:

Colleague: Any ideas?

Me: No… Ooh hang on… I think I’m just having an epitaph!

Colleague: What?

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

Uncomfortable silence

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

Her: Ventilator?

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?

Him: What?

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.


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