You’re Saying it Wrong! – A Lesson in Malapropism

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oops hand, womanYogi Berra: Master of Malapropism

Yogi Berra, the 89-year-old baseball Hall of Famer, is legendary for a lot of reasons: He was the Major League Baseball Most Valuable Player three different years, he managed teams that made it to the World Series, and he was arguably the greatest catcher of all time, to name a few. But there’s another thing he’s famous for: “Yogiisms.” Berra made people laugh with his statements of the obvious (“you can observe a lot by watching”), his paradoxical statements (“nobody goes there anymore because it’s too crowded”), and perhaps most hilarious, his malapropisms. What’s a malapropism, you ask? It’s when you substitute a similar-sounding, incorrect word in place of the right one. And the result is often amusing.

Examples of malapropism

Here are a couple of examples from Mr. Yogi Berra himself:

“Texas has a lot of electrical votes.” (electoral)

“He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious.” (ambidextrous)

The Internet is full of entertaining examples of people using the wrong word for a given situation. Here are a few that have been circulating and might make you chuckle. Names have been withheld to protect the malapropistic.

“I’m about to eat some Synonym Toast Crunch.” (Cinnamon)

“You shouldn’t take anything for granite.” (granted)

“I have a photogenic memory.” (photographic)

And here’s my personal favorite, which I gleaned from a Facebook acquaintance:

“I just had my baby! Come visit me in the post-pardon unit of the hospital!” (postpartum)

Wait, I’ve done it too?

Before you laugh too hard at other people, you might consider the possibility that you’ve uttered a malapropism or two. Here are some sayings that people sometimes get mixed up. Can you pick the right word(s) to fill in the blanks?

If something meets basic requirements, it passes _____.

a. muster

b. mustard

If something is not important or worth talking about, it’s a _____ point.

a. mute

b. moot

 For all _____ purposes, he is no longer a resident of this city.

a. intensive

b. intents and

 When an idea needs more detail or clarification, you _____ it out.

a. flesh

b. flush


What’s the funniest malapropism you’ve heard or read?


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