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MRS Malaprop was a character in Sheridan's 1775 play The Rivals who had the habit of using the wrong words to comic effect.

Malapropisms have been alive and well ever since, and used by generations of comics, from Laurel and Hardy to Ronnie Barker.

Music hall and television star Hylda Baker, who has featured in this column recently, used them throughout her career. "If you're filled with infection, medicate in my direction," she sang in a parody version of the Grease hit You're The One That I Want in 1978.

Others included: "What are you incinerating?" "No man has ever dallied with my afflictions. And I can say that without fear of contraception." "This is a fine hysterical building, kept up by the National Truss."

Hylda lived for a time in Blackpool and had a great affection for the "Blackpool Hallucinations".

Brighouse comic Johnny Casson is also a practitioner. "I'm suffering from magnesia. I can't remember how I met my wife. I just opened my wallet and she was there."

"I've got an appointment to see the optimist about my eyes. I got hit in the eye with a firework and it detached my rectum."

Getting your words mixed up is an easy trap to fall in to. These were taken from ordinary internet messages: Dad says the monster is just a pigment of my imagination. Good punctuation means not to be late. He's a wolf in cheap clothing. Michelangelo painted the Sixteenth Chapel. My sister has extracentury perception. He was on the horns of an enema. Alcoholics Unanimous. The suppository of all wisdom.

Les Dawson and Roy Barraclough raised it to an art form in their wonderful Cissie and Ada routines, although they may have stretched the concept on occasions.

"Did you see the Acropolis?" "See it? We were never off it." "Did you have the sheesh kebabs?" "From the moment we arrived." And who can forget their visit to the doctor and Ada's hysterical rectomy? Thank you Mrs Malaprop, for the laughs.

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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Aug 21, 2018
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