Sharing with you things that are on my mind...Maybe yours too. Come back to Wrights Lane for a visit anytime!

08 October, 2008


...She's in an league by herself

A couple of items ago I introduced a new "feature" for this site -- The Word According to Rosanne. I referred to my wife Rosanne as being a serious female Norm Crosby, the King of Malaprop.

Norm, of course, is famous for the use of twisted phrases in his comedy act. His version of "He had panache", for instance, came out as "He had pistachio." He often talked about drinking "decapitated" coffee. Now compare that to the Rosanneisms listed two items down and you will see what I mean. Before giving you the benefit of a few more of Rosanne's latest classic utterances, I think it behooves me to explain a little about the unfamiliar term "malapropism".

A malapropism (from French mal propos) is an incorrect usage of a word, usually with comic effect. The word comes from the name Mrs. Malaprop, a character in Richard Brinsley Sheridan's comedy, The Rivals (1775), whose name was in turn derived from the existing English word malapropos which means

"inappropriately". Here are some examples from Mrs. Malaprop's dialogue:

-- "He's as headstrong as an allegory (alligator) on the banks of the Nile.
-- "He is the very pineapple (pinnacle) of politeness."
-- "If I reprehend (apprehend) anything in this world, it is the use of my oracular (vernacular) tongue, and a nice derangement (arrangement) of epitaphs (epithets).

Several prominent knowledge bases. however, suggest that it might be more appropriate to call such confusions "Dogberryisms" after Sergeant Dogberry in William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, who was making them almost two centuries earlier, for example:

-- "Companions are odorous (odious)."
-- "Our watch, sir, have indeed comprehended (apprehended) two auspicious (suspicious) persons."

Now back to our favorite Rosanneisms.

-- The other day she she referred to a situation as being "disconcerning". She meant disconcerting -- of course.
-- "I can't stand concentration." In this instance she was responding to something that had upset her and it was "consternation" that she was experiencing.
-- "The layout of that house is kind of foreboding." I thought "here comes another good one" and asked "what do you mean by foreboding?" "I don't know," she said. "It's like, eerie and claustrophobic." Pretty close on that one sweetheart. However, it may not qualify as a true Rosanneism.

-- On the need to purchase Kleenex. "We've exhorted (exhausted) our supply."
-- "Are you going to have your soul food (seafood) tonight?" quickly recognizing her malapropism by asking: "What's it called?"
-- "The only player that I know on the Maple Leafs this year is Joseph Curtis." Meaning veteran goaltender Curtis Joseph.

I'll let you saviour those few for now. Lots more to follow.

I don't know, but I'll stack Rosanne up against Norm Crosby, Mrs. Malaprop and Sergeant Dogberry any day of the week. Ya gotta love her!

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