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|Thanks for that...
Written by Arnie Perlstein
(3/6/2007 9:33 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Yes, I agree, penned by JulieW
...I think it's clear from that first OED definition that this was not a malapropism. However, you've caused me to take a second look, and realize that I was so predisposed to see a malapropism in that instance that I missed what is, right there on the surface, a bit of brilliant ironic wordplay of an entirely different "species" by Sheridan's, to wit:
The THIRD definition of "specious" in the OED reads as follows:
"Superficially genuine or correct but in reality wrong or false...misleadingly sound or convincing."
That is the sense in which I have seen, and used, the word specious , and when you think about it, that's a pretty good definition of a malapropism! In order for a malapropism to be funny, in addition to other requirements, there must be a superficial appearance of correctness, a recognizable resemblance to the correct word that should have been used.
So, in addition to the flattering primary connotation of "specious" which Sir Anthony clearly intended to use (I am not for a second suggesting that he was mocking Mrs. M), we have the very unflattering, but very accurate second connotation, which is the last thing Sir Anthony intends, which skewers her for exactly what she does, repeatedly and hilariously, i.e., to throw out a dizzying variety of malapropisms.
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