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Home » Shakespeare's Works » Elements » Figures of Speech » Figures of Speech by Name » Acyrologia


Acyrologia (ak-ir-o-lo'-gi-a) is an unintended use of the wrong word often by someone attempting to sound educated or erudite. “O, villain! Thou wilt be condemned into everlasting redemption for this!” Much Ado About Nothing, 4.2.38. Dogberry used “redemption” instead of “damnation.” The modern term for this figure is malapropism.  Malapropism is a neologismA new, deliberately invented word. inspired by the name of the character Mrs. Malaprop, in Richard Sheridan's The Rivals, 1775. Her name is an abbreviated portmanteauA neologism created by combining two words. that combines the prefix mal. meaning bad, with appropriate.

Acyrologia is an example of:
Substitution, Word Play

Yea, marry, let them come before me

Read the Quote

Yea, marry, let them come before me.
  Conrade and Borachio are brought forward.
What is your name, friend?
Pray, write down “Borachio.”—Yours, sirrah?
I am a gentleman, sir, and my name is Conrade.

O, villain! Thou wilt be condemned
into everlasting redemption for this!
… continue reading this quote

Act 4
Scene 2
Line 10

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