Mrs. Malaprop and Moses

“Malapropism” is when you accidentally confuse words with a funny result.   Like the time in college when my art history professor asked why my friend was always falling asleep in class and I said, “Oh, it’s not that you’re boring.  She’s a necrophiliac.”  I meant narcoleptic.  Oopsie.  The term is coined after a character in Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s play “The Rivals” (which I actually read and enjoyed back in college, thanks to Dr. Darlene Mettler).  

First Babysit Church

First Babysit Church

Today, Vivi and I were riding a tandem bike around the island.  We passed a church and she yelled, “Hey, Mommy!  It’s the First Babysit Church!”

After a good chuckle, I explained that the two words shared many letters, but they had totally different meanings.  But given Vivi’s propensity for asking questions I then found myself pedaling the bike, balancing, steering and explaining baptism versus christening, John the Baptist and Salome, Protestantism and Catholicism, Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, and the Diet of Worms in 1522.  At least we got to our lunch spot before I had to remember the difference between consubstantiation and transubstantiation.  Wars have been fought over that one.


When we got back to the apartment, Carlos had gone all Old Testament on us.  He had on a Burger King crown and was trying to crawl into a picnic basket made of reeds.  That’s my boy, Moses.


15 thoughts on “Mrs. Malaprop and Moses

  1. Virginia Wilcox

    One of my favorites comes in papers from my students when they plan to ‘defiantly’ use a technique I’ve modeled or shown in class instead of ‘definitely’ using it. I almost want to give points for that one now as the context many times makes it even more enjoyable.

  2. Anonymous (Do you blame me?)

    I once co-taught a class for travel agents who were learning an airline reservation system. My co-worker presented the section on “Connecting Cities” Bless his heart. The man stood at the blackboard and said, out loud, “Connecting Titties”

  3. Donna Murphy

    I am so enjoying the visual of you giving this detailed explanation while balancing, steering, pedaling….On bicycles we are always louder than we think, I wish I could’ve been a passer-by during this episode of “A day in the life of baddestmotherever!” Love it!

  4. Christy

    When I was a baby and my mother was nursing me my grandparents (her in-laws) visited. It was a bit awkward with her being new to the family and all and the baby needing to nurse a lot. But the crowning moment came when the whole gang was preparing to leave to visit the nearby town “Tip City” and my grandpa loudly announced, “Alright. Is everyone ready to go to “Sip Titty”?

  5. Tracy Ward Tilley

    I have a couple of friends who always get their words mixed up. One told us to bundle up in this cold weather because the “wind shield factory” made things very cold. Another friend was always concerned about her “transmute” to work, fearing there would be too much traffic. My own son, Ward, many times has said that he has a “urine” for an ice cream cone. It’s so dang funny, we can’t bring ourselves to correct him. I suppose when he leaves for college we’ll tell him about the word “yearning.” LOL. I love my life and the people in it.

  6. Darcy Perdu

    Love your declaration about your friend who is a “necrophiliac” and the other funny incorrect word usage in the Comments. In my all girls high school, our only male teacher asked his physics class what “z” was — the correct answer is impedance, pronounced “impee-dunce” — but I was so excited that I knew the answer, I accidentally shouted “impotence, impotence!” The whole classed laughed. Mr. Antee turned bright red. Everytime he tried to open his mouth to continue, he started laughing again.

  7. Tracy Ward Tilley

    Here’s another one. There once was this high falutin’ Jr. League Pres who I admired greatly and she spoke to the “junior league underlings” (me and about 100 other people) upon our installation. She was dressed in her finest suit, heels, etc and talked about the great “organization” we were joining but she instead talked about what a great “orgasm” it was. I thought I was going to die laughing.

  8. Tara

    One day we can have a long and in-depth (or maybe not that long, we might just agree) on the insight of linking “babysit” and “church.” Precious and fascinating. I might not sleep tonight thinking about that one. Love the biking together. One day soon. I hope. Gotta get little man off the training wheels. 😉


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