Oxford Word Challenge


A malapropism is the mistaken use of one word for another. It is named after Mrs. Malaprop, a character in Sheridan’s play The Rivals (1775), who was fond of using malapropos (i.e. inappropriate) statements like “Illiterate him, I say, quite from your memory” (meaning ‘obliterate’) or “My affluence over my niece is very small” (meaning ‘influence’).

Can you correct the mistakes in the italicized words in these sentences?

Example: The muscles around the stomach are known as the abominable muscles.
Answer: Abdominal (‘abominable’ means ‘detestable’).

1. A prospectus is someone who searches for gold.

2. After a long air flight, it is reassuring to get your feet back onto terracotta.

3. I couldn’t change his decision: it was a Fiat accompli.

4. I can assert the truth of it, without fear of contraception.

5. You can darken your eyelids with cascara.

6. If you swallow poison, you should take an anecdote.

7. I was prostate with grief.

8. She ate with a veracious appetite.

9. The garden was brightened by the red flowers of saliva.

10. A triangle with all its sides equal is called an equatorial triangle.

11. He was on the horns of an enema.

12. The doctor had told him he had very close veins.


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