I am looking for a word that describes the mistaking of a word for one that sounds similar. For instance "you aren't allowed to do that, but I guess we can make a deception." Obviously, "deception" should be "exception." The words don't sound the same, but they're pretty close.


Perhaps malapropism?

The mistaken use of a word in place of a similar-sounding one, often with unintentionally amusing effect, as in, for example, “dance a flamingo” (instead of flamenco).

| improve this answer | |
  • Perfect. I knew there was a word for this, but forgot it. Thanks bib! – KnightOfNi Apr 9 '14 at 21:51
  • Or the classic: "I'd rather be pissed off then pissed on" – Cruncher Apr 10 '14 at 14:16
  • @Cruncher Perhaps the order is reversed? – bib Apr 10 '14 at 14:22

Also eggcorn

a word or phrase that results from a mishearing or misinterpretation of another, an element of the original being substituted for one that sounds very similar or identical (e.g. tow the line instead of toe the line ).

| improve this answer | |
  • Best because eggcorn is itself an example. – dmourati Apr 10 '14 at 6:09

How about "catachresis?"

catachresis: the incorrect use of words, as luxuriant for luxurious.

| improve this answer | |

A special class of this situation is a mondegreen:

the mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase as a result of near-homophony, in a way that gives it a new meaning.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.