The word malaprop, a form of malapropism, is used by the brothers Fowler in The King's English (1931), it may be conjectured, as a form of catch-all term, to avoid pedantic distinctions and arguments about what constitutes a 'proper' malapropism. The brothers group malaprops into six categories. These are listed below. The category of malaprops in this website is subdivided into six equivalent subcategories, labelled malaprops 1 etc.
- 1 Words containing the same stem but ... distinguished by termination or prefix
- 2 Words like the previous set, except that the differentiation may possibly be disputed
- 3 "Give-and-take forms" - where two words have different constructions, and one is used with the other's construction
- 4 Words having properly no connexion with each other, but confused through superficial resemblance
- 5 Words whose meaning is misapprehended without apparent cause
- 6 Words used in unaccustomed, though not impossible, senses or applications
To these six categories, AWE has begun to add a seventh, Malaprops (former). This was suggested by the fact that several of the usages to which the Fowler brothers object have now become entirely accepted even in the academic world. A language must move on, or it dies; and these are cases in which the English language has moved on.