Malapropism – similar-sounding word, but wrong
Malapropism is the humorous misuse of a word by confusing it with a similar-sounding word.
The mall was propped up (malapropism) after the huge explosion. A passing goat denied he was responsible – but referred to an “escape goat” when he meant “scapegoat”.
Examples of malapropisms
Mary had a little lamb, its fleas (fleece) were white as snow.
Having one wife is called monotony (monogamy).
Do not put heavy items on the glass. Thanks for your copulation (cooperation).
The word “malapropism” comes from a character named Mrs Malaprop in a 1775 Sheridan play in which Mrs Malaprop frequently misspeaks words. The words don’t have the meaning she intends but sound similar to words that do. It was used for comical effect.