This word is French for "ill to the purpose." Something malapropos, or something done malapropos, is done in an awkward, unhelpful, or inconvenient way.
mal ap ruh PO
Part of speech:
It's both an adjective ("a malapropos thing," "a thing that's malapropos")
and an adverb ("they did something malapropos.")
How to use it:
When "awkward" is too vague and "inappropriate" doesn't express the cringe-worthy timing you're describing, pick "malapropos." Just remember to spell it with that final "s," but don't say it.
Talk about a malapropos moment, or something done or said malapropos, such as a malapropos visit, a malapropos call, a malapropos remark or comment, or a malapropos response. You could also say that people are habitually malapropos or are malapropos by nature (heaven help them!)
Used malapropos, an otherwise impressive vocabulary can annoy your friends and land you on the "I am very smart" subreddit, the place where the Internet mocks pseudo-intellectualism.
I'm guaranteed to get a knock at the door or a phone call at the most malapropos moment--right when my little one has fallen asleep.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "malapropos" means when you can explain it without saying "inopportune" or "unhelpful."
Think of a time someone asked you for something, and it made you think, "Ugh, not now!", and fill in the blanks: "(Someone's) malapropos request for _____ came right as _____."
Example: "The student's malapropos request for me to look over her complex school project--due the next day-- came right as our lesson time was up and I had to leave for another."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month, we're playing with some fascinating thematic word lists assembled by Stephen Chrisomalis, an English language expert over at The Phrontistery who kindly gave permission for me to use his work. (Check out his site; you will definitely enjoy it!)
Try a question each day, and see the right answers here the following day--or if you can't wait, follow the link to Stephen's list to dig out the answers yourself. Have fun!
Celadon, corbeau, eau-de-nil, and lovat are all types of what?
These are all shades of green! Celadon is pale green, corbeau is blackish green, eau-de-nil is another shade of pale green, and lovat is grey-green or blue-green.
Try this one today:
What does an entomophagous creature eat? And what does a piscivorous creature eat? How about a foliophagous creature?
Can't wait until tomorrow for the right answers? Check out Stephen's full list and discussion at the Phrontistery.
A Point Well Made:
Chuck Palahniuk: “It's easy to attack and destroy an act of creation. It's a lot more difficult to perform one.”
1. One opposite of MALAPROPOS is
2. He answered malapropos, _____.
A. with precise attention to every portion of the question
B. long after the conversation had moved on from the question
C. making us wonder if he had prepared his response ahead of time
Answers are below.
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Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Today's word has a perfect opposite, "apropos," that we haven't yet looked at in an issue.
But we have looked at the exact opposites of euphony, mortal (as in "mortal sin"), and zenith. Could you come up with each of these? Click the links if you're not sure or you want to confirm that you're right.
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