What She Said

I have mentioned before that my wife suffers from malapropism when I wrote about “possessed foods“.   The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines malapropism as “the usually unintentionally humorous misuse or distortion of a word or phrase; especially : the use of a word sounding somewhat like the one intended but ludicrously wrong in the context”.

Here are just a few more examples from my wife’s growing portfolio, only she also exchanges words with words of similar meaning but still incorrect in the context;

1.  “I wonder how he survives.  It seems that most times, he is living foot to mouth.”

2.  “Was there a Chinese Emperor that did not have his porcupines?”

3.  “There is an ache at the foot of my toe.”

4.  “That’s the only suggestion that I can make off the top of my tip.”

5.  “We are living a cemetery livestyle.”


Just in case you couldn’t figure it out what she meant, hear are some clues;

1. foot = hand

2. porcupines = concubines

3. foot = base

4. tip = head

5. cemetery = sedentary




19 thoughts on “What She Said”

  1. Sounds like Mrs. Squirrel has a good sense of humor. Surely makes it easier for you to laugh if you both laugh together. Thank goodness she isn’t dyslexic as well. “The foot of my toe hurts like hell.” Ummm. Thinking about it, I suppose that’s a German translation.

  2. #5 is my favorite. You really do need to dig yourself out of that grave and get out more!

    Actually, I do this a lot because I have a type of Dyslexia. It’s hard to explain, but dyslexia isn’t about just transposing letter and numbers. I have trouble with recall. I know what I want to say, but I have trouble remembering how to say a specific word I want to use, so I try to find a synoymn to express what I mean. If I’m trying to maintain the flow of the conversation without slowing down then thats when the malapropism sneaks in. I often write notes to myself in pictures and equations that only I understand.

    I have an undistinguishable European accent to the ears of my fellow Americans, because I talk slow and try to hide the fact that I’m struggling to form the appropriate words to make a sentence. So basically, I’m a foreigner in my own country. I got yelled at a lot because my mom thought I was being “weird”.

  3. I think it’s amusing that you felt you had to explain any of those. Except for the porcupines, I knew exactly what each thing was. But that’s probably because I have never thought about Chinese emperors at all, nor did I know they had concubines. These things are also called “spoonerisms” and they happen naturally to me all the time. My husband laughs and laughs. I switch words like “Don’t forget to put that car in the box” as well as beginning letters, like “Don’t forget to put that cox in the bar.” Does your wife switch letters, too?

  4. yearstricken,
    Thanks for your kind encouragement. I enjoy your whacky posts too.

    That’s very interesting. But you write so fluidly. Do you struggle in the same way to look for the right word when you write as you do when you speak?

  5. Riot Kitty,
    Glad to be of service. Please return the favour and feed some squirrels. Thanks.

    I am sorry. I suppose most of my readers did not need the clues but doesn’t hurt to be thorough. My wife doesn’t seem to exchange letters as you described. She tends to exchange whole words. Although I’ll keep an ear out just to be sure.

  6. Joyce,
    I am sorry if I appear to be underestimating my readers powers of comprehension. I know most of the readers will not need the clues. But then I read a Gallup Poll that said that 37% of Americans can’t point out the USA on a map. And there are similar polls for other countries. Hence it is better to err on the side of caution. 🙂

  7. Owen,
    Thanks for introducing me to Lady Mondegreen. My favorite mondegreen is from Neil Sedaka’s “Oh Carol!” which goes; “Oh Carol! I’m a bloody fool” whereas the lyrics actually is “Oh Carol! I am but a fool.” Whole generations of Malaysians sung the wrong version.

  8. Yes, I do however keep Dictionary.com pinned to my browser window for the occasional/normal need to make sure I am using the right word for the context or just to check my spelling. Something in the process of verbalizing the word slows me down, it is a brain development thing that cannot be fixed only managed. When I’m really tired I can’t form a sentence, it sounds like I’m suffering a stroke.


  9. melanie,
    Sorry to hear that but clearly you are managing it very well. I tend to mumble and slur when I’m tired. I know that’s not the same thing but maybe similar at a lower extent.

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