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Mrs. Malaprop's Offspring

(222 entries, updated September, 2007)

Coined for Mrs. Malaprop, a character in the play The Rivals by Sheridan (ca.1775). A malapropism is an accidentally inappropriate (usually that means 'humorous') choice, omission, or alteration of words. The best known practicioner is perhaps Yogi Berra, who elevated the practice to a high art, and is well represented here.

Other items in this collection include "spoonerisms" - named for Reverend Spooner, who would frequently transpose words or parts of words from one part of a sentence to another - with humerous results. A well known example, is the Reverend, after pronouncing a couple 'man and wife', saying "It is kisstomary to cuss the bride."

Also in the collection are many mixed (and in some cases, mutilated) metaphors - where someone intends to use a metaphor to explain or state something, but gets lost along the way. Sportscasters searching for words of hype and politicians in the heat of debate are known for spouting these in large quantities. A traditional example is that a U.S. senator once said "...and that is a horse of a different feather."


     - A -

  1. Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours. - Yogi Berra

  2. Abraham Lincoln became America's greatest Precedent. - from Student Bloopers

  3. Abraham Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg Address while traveling from Washington to Gettysburg on the back of an envelope. - from Student Bloopers

  4. Actually, Homer was not written by Homer, but by another man of that name. - from Student Bloopers

  5. Although the patient had never been fatally ill before, he woke up dead.

  6. The amount of education you have determines your loot in life.

  7. An oral contract isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

  8. Another tale tells of William Tell, who shot an arrow through an apple while standing on his son's head. - from Student Bloopers

  9. Anteaters are generally found at picnics.

  10. Antidotes are what you take to prevent dotes.

  11. Aarabs wear turbines on their heads.

  12. Are you any relation to your brother Marv? - Leon Wood, New Jersey Nets guard, to Steve Albert

  13. At Roman banquets, the guests wore garlics in their hair. - from Student Bloopers

  14. At least half their customers who fly to New York come by plane.

     - B -

  15. Bach died from 1750 to the present. - from Student Bloopers

  16. Bach was the most famous composer in the world, and so was Handel. Handel ws half German, half English, and half Italian. He was very large. - from Student Bloopers

  17. Bang, boom, pow! he hissed. - Leo Rosten

  18. Barking dogs don't bite people they don't know.

  19. Before I start speaking, I'd like to say something.

  20. Benjamin Franklin died in 1790 and is still dead.

  21. The Bible is full of interesting caricatures. - from Student Bloopers

  22. The blood circulates through the body by flowing down one leg and up the other. - from Kids Say the Darndest Things

  23. The book was so exciting I couldn't finish it until I put it down.

  24. The bowels are a,e,i,o,u and sometimes y.

  25. The bride was wearing an old lace gown that fell to the floor as she walked down the isle.

  26. By the time we got there it was deader than a hangnail.

     - C -

  27. Charles Darwin was a naturalist who wrote the Organ of the Species. - from Student Bloopers

  28. The chief is inclined to believe that a crossed wife might be the cause of the fire. - Leo Rosten

  29. A census taker is man who goes from house to house increasing the population. - from Kids Say the Darndest Things

  30. A city purifies its water supply by filtering the water then forcing it through an aviator. - from Kids Say the Darndest Things

  31. The climate of the Sarah is such that the inhabitants have to live elsewhere, so certain areas of the dessert are cultivated by irritation. - from Student Bloopers

  32. A closed mouth gathers no feet. (does this one really count?)

  33. The Constitution of the United States was adopted to secure domestic hostility. - from Student Bloopers

  34. Columbus was a great navigator who discovered America while cursing about the Atlantic. - from Student Bloopers

  35. Comfortable apartment. Short walk to beach. Affordable germs. - Leo Rosten

  36. Coming home, I drove into the wrong house and ran into a tree that I didn't have.

  37. The congressman stayed after the town meeting and discussed the high cost of living with several women.

  38. The conviction carries a penalty of one to ten years in Alabama. - Leo Rosten

     - D -

  39. Damp weather is very hard on the sciences.

  40. David was a Hebrew king skilled at playing the liar. - from Student Bloopers

  41. The death of Francis Shaw was a major turning point in his life.

  42. The difference between a king and a president is that a king is the son of his father and a president isn't.

  43. The doctor felt the man's purse and said there was no hope.

  44. The doctors X-rayed my head and found nothing. - Dizzy Dean after being hit on the head by a ball in the 1934 World Series.

  45. The dog ran across the lawn, emitting whelps all along the way.

  46. Dogs are getting bigger, according to a leading dog manufacturer. - Leo Rosten

  47. Don't bite the hand that lays the golden egg.

  48. Don't burn your bridges until you come to them.

  49. Don't put all your chickens in one basket.

  50. During the Napoleonic Wars the crowned heads of Europe were trembling in their shoes. - from Student Bloopers

     - E -

  51. The Egyptians built the Pyramids in the shape of a huge triangular cube. - from Student Bloopers

  52. Every silver lining has a cloud around it.

  53. Everything's fine - just honky-tonky. - Leo Rosten

     - F -

  54. Female moths are called myths.

  55. Finally, the colonists won the War and no longer had to pay for taxis. - from Student Bloopers

  56. Fine furniture at reasonable prices: antique, colonial, and temporary. - Leo Rosten

  57. The first thing they do when a baby is born is to cut its biblical chord.

  58. The flood damage was so bad they had to evaporate the city.

  59. Flying saucers are just an optical conclusion.

  60. The four seasons are salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar. - from Kids Say the Darndest Things

  61. From now on I'm watching your every move with a fine-toothed comb. - Leo Rosten

     - G -

  62. The general direction of the Alps is straight up. - from Kids Say the Darndest Things

  63. George Washington married Marth Curtis and in due time became the Father of Our Country. - from Student Bloopers

  64. God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac on Mount Montezuma. - from Student Bloopers

  65. The Gorgons had long snakes in their hair. They lookd like women, only more horrible.

  66. The government of Athens was democratic because people took the law into their own hands. - from Student Bloopers

  67. The government of England was a limited mockery. - from Student Bloopers

  68. Gravity was invented by Isaac Walton. - from Student Bloopers

  69. Greeks invented three kinds of columns: Corinthian, Doric, and Ironic. - from Student Bloopers

  70. Growing up the trellis were pink and yellow concubines.

  71. The guy was all over the road. I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him.

     - H -

  72. Handel was half German, half Italian, and half English. - from Student Bloopers

  73. Hark! I hear a white horse coming!

  74. Having one wife is called monotony.

  75. He always puts his foot in his soup. - Leo Rosten

  76. He fought with the Philatelists, a race of people who lived in Biblical times. - from Student Bloopers

  77. Henry VIII found walking difficult because he had an abbess on his knee. - from Student Bloopers

  78. He sent the package by partial post.

  79. He wanted an heir to inherit his power, but since Josephine was a baroness, she couldn't bear children. - from Student Bloopers

  80. He was a friendly dog, said an observer with a curly tail and friendly manner. - Leo Rosten

  81. He was between a rock and the deep blue sea.

  82. He went to jail for making a false deduction.

  83. He's the type who will cut your throat behind your back. - Leo Rosten

  84. Homer also wrote the Oddity, in which Penelope was the last hardship that Ulysses endured on his journey. - from Student Bloopers

  85. A horse divided against itself cannot stand. - from Student Bloopers

  86. How would you like to write my autobiography?

     - I -

  87. I challenge you to give a frank, affirmative answer, yes or no. - Leo Rosten

  88. The Ides of March murdered Caesar because they thought he was going to be made king. - from Student Bloopers

  89. I do hope you don't think I'm making a mountain out of a molehill, but that's the whole kettle of fish in a nutshell.

  90. I don't want to join the kind of a club that accepts people like me as members. - Groucho Marx

  91. I just want to thank everyone who made this day necessary. - Yogi Beara

  92. I live so far out of town, the mailman mails me my letters. - Henny Youngman

  93. I'll give you a definite maybe. - Samuel Goldwyn

  94. If a pronoun is a word used in place of a noun, a proverb is a pronoun used in place of a verb. - Hyman Kaplan, a character by Leo Rosten

  95. If his father was alive today he'd be turning over in his grave. - Leo Rosten

  96. If the people don't want to come out to the park, nobody's gonna stop them. - Yogi Berra

  97. If the plural of host is hostess, then the plural of ghost is ghostess. - Hyman Kaplan, a character by Leo Rosten

  98. If you come to a fork in the road, take it. - Yogi Berra

  99. If your eye falls on a bargain, pick it up.

  100. I may not always be right, but I'm never wrong. - Samuel R. Goldwyn

  101. I'm havin' so many near misses they must be mistresses. - Vernon Appoy

  102. I'm not the kind of person who wears his heart up his sleeve. - Leo Rosten

  103. The inhabitants of Moscow are called Mosquitoes.Kids Say the Darndest Things

  104. The Indian squabs carried porpoises on their back. - from Student Bloopers

  105. The inhabitants of ancient Egypt were called mummies. - from Student Bloopers

  106. In midevil times most of the people were alliterate. - from Student Bloopers

  107. In one of Shakespear's famous plays, Hamlet rations out his situation by relieving himself in a long soliloquy. - from Student Bloopers

  108. In spring, the salmon swim upstream to spoon.Kids Say the Darndest Things

  109. In the middle of the 18th century, all the morons moved to Utah.Kids Say the Darndest Things

  110. In the first book of the Bible, Guinesses, Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree. - from Student Bloopers

  111. In the Olympic Games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled the biscuits and threw the java. - from Student Bloopers

  112. In the ninteenth century, pheasants led terrible lives.

  113. Iron was discovered because someone smelt it.Kids Say the Darndest Things

  114. I suffer from a deviant septum.

  115. It is kisstomary to cuss the bride. - Reverend Spooner

  116. It's like deja-vu, all over again. - Yogi Berra

  117. It's like finding a haystack full of needles. - Leo Rosten

  118. It's time to grab the bull by the tail and look it in the eye.

  119. I've never had major knee surgery on any other part of my body. - Winston Bennett, University of Kentucky basketball forward.

     - J -

  120. Jacob, son of Isaac, stole his brother's birth mark. - from Student Bloopers

  121. Joan of Arc was cannonized by Bernard Shaw. - from Student Bloopers

  122. Julius Caesar extinguished himself on the battlefields of Gaul. - from Student Bloopers

  123. The jury's verdict showed they were of one mind: temporarily insane. - Leo Rosten

     - K -

  124. King Alfred conquered the Dames. - from Student Bloopers

  125. King Arthur lived in the Age of Shivery. - from Student Bloopers

  126. King Harold musterded his troops before the Battle of Hastings. - from Student Bloopers

     - L -

  127. A leopard is a form of dotted lion.

  128. Let dead dogs sleep.

  129. Let sleeping ducks lie.

  130. Let's get down to brass roots.

  131. Lincoln's mother died in infancy, and he was born in a log cabin which he built with his own hands. - from Student Bloopers

  132. Louis Pasteur discovered a cure for rabbis. - from Student Bloopers

     - M -

  133. Magna Carta provided that no free men should be hanged twice for the same offense. - from Student Bloopers

  134. That man is a real charmer, a regular Don Coyote. - Leo Rosten

  135. Many men reach maturity, but only women reach maternity so far. - Leo Rosten

  136. Money roots out all evil.

  137. The match was so close that it was hanging on a cliff the whole time.- Vernon Appoy

  138. The mother of Achilles dipped him in the River Stynx until he became intollerable. - from Student Bloopers

  139. Moses led them to the Red Sea, where they made unleavened bread, which is bread made without any ingredients. - from Student Bloopers

  140. The most famous Italian composer was Liboretto. - Leo Rosten

  141. Most of the houses in France are made of plaster of Paris. - from Kids Say the Darndest Things

  142. Mother no's best.

  143. Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Sloane request your presents at the marriage of their daughter...

  144. My car sustained no dmage whatsoever in the accident, and the other car had even less.

     - N -

  145. Necessity is the mother of convention.

  146. Nero was a cruel tyranny who would torture his poor subjects by playing the fiddle to them. - from Student Bloopers

  147. Never let a gift horse in the house.

  148. Ninety percent of the game is half mental. - Yogi Berra

  149. No one heard him laugh like that since his wife died. - Leo Rosten

  150. Now the shoe is on the other horse!

  151. Not all that shivers is cold. - Leo Rosten

     - O -

  152. Ohio is the sound of an indian yawning. - Hyman Kaplan, a character by Leo Rosten

  153. Oliver Cromwell had a large red nose, but under it were deeply religious feelings. - from Kids Say the Darndest Things

  154. One by-product of raising cattle is calves. - from Kids Say the Darndest Things

  155. One of Jacob's sons, Joseph gave refuse to the Israelites. - from Student Bloopers

  156. One of their children, Cain, once asked, "Am I my brother's son?" - from Student Bloopers

  157. One of the things you have to say for him: he doesn't mince his punches. - Leo Rosten

  158. One of the main causes of dust is janitors. - from Kids Say the Darndest Things

  159. The opposite of height is lowth. - Hyman Kaplan, a character by Leo Rosten

     - P -

  160. Past tense means you used to be nervous.

  161. People don't go there anymore. It's too crowded. - Yogi Berra

  162. People seeking solitude are flocking here from the four corners of the world. - Leo Rosten

  163. The people who followed the Lord were called the 12 opossums.Kids Say the Darndest Things

  164. A person should take a bath once in the summer, not so often in the winter. - from Kids Say the Darndest Things

  165. Pharaoh forced the Hebrew slaves to make bread without straw. - from Student Bloopers

  166. Please excuse Ed from school Friday. He has very loose vowels.

  167. Please excuse Miriam from school Tuesday, she had a cold and could not breed well.

  168. The plural of sandwich is delicatessen. - Hyman Kaplan, a character by Leo Rosten

  169. The police reported that the victem suffered at least two broken legs. - Leo Rosten

  170. The police surrounded the building and threw an accordian around the block.

  171. The Pyramids are a range of mountains between France and Spain. - from Student Bloopers

     - R -

  172. Remember when it comes to giving, some people stop at nothing.

  173. Reverend Hammond was congratulated on being able to get his parish plastered. - Leo Rosten

  174. The reward to the victor was a coral wreath. - from Student Bloopers

  175. A rolling stone gathers no moths.

  176. Rome wasn't burned in a day. - Leo Rosten

  177. Rural life is mostly in the country.

     - S -

  178. The sacred cows have come home to roost with a vengance.

  179. Samuel Morse invented a code of telepathy. - from Student Bloopers

  180. A scout obeys all to whom obedience is due and respects all duly constipated authorities. - from Kids Say the Darndest Things

  181. A seven pound baby arrived last night to frighten the lives of Mr. and Mrs. Sherman Caswell.

  182. She grabbed the bull by the tail and faced the problem squarely.

  183. She held out her hand. The young man took it and left.

  184. She never talks to strangers unless they're friends. - Leo Rosten

  185. She was as mad as a wet blanket. - Leo Rosten

  186. She went into the hospital after being bitten by a spider in a bathing suit. - Leo Rosten

  187. Shhhh! I hear footprints. - Vernon Appoy

  188. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock. - from Student Bloopers

  189. Solomon, one of David's sons, had 500 wives and 500 porcupines. - from Student Bloopers

  190. The spinal column is a long bunch of bones. The head sits on the top and you sit on the bottom. - from Kids Say the Darndest Things

  191. The sword of Damocles is hanging over Pandora's box.

  192. Syntax is all the money collected at the church from sinners.Kids Say the Darndest Things

     - T -

  193. That snake in the grass is barking up the wrong tree.

  194. That was another horse of a different color.

  195. Their father is some kind of civil serpent.

  196. There is no time like the pleasant. - George Bergman

  197. There were only three other people in the restaurant, and half of them were waiters.

  198. Then the Spanish Gorillas came down from the hills and nipped at Napoleon's flanks. - from Student Bloopers

  199. These hemorrhoids are a pain in the neck.

  200. They lived in the Sarah Desert and traveled by Camelot. - from Student Bloopers

  201. This premises will soon be re-opened as a caffeteria with courteous and efficient self-service. - Leo Rosten

  202. The three kinds of veins are areteries, vanities, and capillaries.

  203. To collect sulphur, hold a deacon over a flame in a test tube.

  204. To prevent head colds, use an agonizer to spray into the nose until it drips into the throat. - from Kids Say the Darndest Things

     - U -

  205. Under the Constitution the people enjoyed the right to keep bare arms. - from Student Bloopers

     - V -

  206. A virgin forest is a forest where the hand of man has never set foot. - from Kids Say the Darndest Things

     - W -

  207. A waist is a terrible thing to mind.

  208. The walls of medeival cathedrals were supported by fling buttocks.

  209. Water is composed of two gins. Oxygin and hydrogin. Oxygin is pure gin. Hydrogin is gin and water. - from Kids Say the Darndest Things

  210. We have deep depth. - Yogi Berra

  211. We made too many wrong mistakes. - Yogi Berra

  212. We do not raise silk worms in the United States, because we get our silk from rayon. He is a larger worm and gives more silk. - from Kids Say the Darndest Things

  213. We had a longer holiday than usual this year because the school was closed for altercations.

  214. When they fought with the Persians, the Greeks were outnumbered because the Persians had more men. - from Student Bloopers

  215. When you mean longer ago than 'then' you say 'thence'.

  216. When you get to the fork in the road, take it. - Yogi Berra

  217. The word trousers is an uncommon noun because it is singular at the top and plural at the bottom.Kids Say the Darndest Things

     - Y -

  218. You can lead a horse to manure but you can't make him drink.

  219. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him backstroke.

  220. You can take a horse to water, but a pencil must be lead. - Stan Laurel

  221. You can observe a lot by watching. - Yogi Berra

  222. You have to take the bad with the worse.

  223. You're here to have fun whether you like it or not.

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