The character Mrs. Malaprop is a humorous aunt who gets mixed up in the schemes and dreams of young lovers in Richard Brinsley Sheridan's 1775 comedy-of-manners The Rivals.
One of the funniest aspects of her character is that she often uses the incorrect word to express herself, thus coining the literary term malapropism.
Malapropism is the practice (whether by intent or by accident) of using an incorrect word that sounds similar to the appropriate word. For example, when I was a kid, I often used this malapropism: "I hope I at least win the constellation prize." (Instead of "consolation" prize.)
To make their characters look foolish, authors and playwrights sometimes utilize malapropism, and that's what Sheridan does with Mrs. Malaprop. Here are a few examples of the ol' gal as she butchers the English language:
Do you have a favorite malapropism? Leave a comment and share!
"We will not anticipate the past, our retrospection will now be all to the future."
"The pineapple of politeness" (Instead of "pinnacle of politeness.")
"She's as headstrong as an allegory on the banks of the Nile" (Instead of "alligator on the banks of the Nile.")