Is there a word for mistaken use of a set phrase?

For example, I heard an interview with an athlete in which he said "...you have to celebrate the victory of your spoils." Of course, this is not how the expression is commonly used (as I understand, it began with "to the victor belong the spoils" and has morphed into "the spoils of victory"; perhaps the phenomenon I'm looking to name is one of the drivers of such evolution).

I don't believe we can use misquote, because I'm talking about phrases that have entered the general public vocabulary. Nor is it a play on words, because it is unintentional. I realize we can just call it a mistake, so please don't suggest something as non-specific as that. I'm looking for a mistake with a set phrase.

  • Malapropism. Solecism. – Dan Bron Dec 18 '14 at 19:36
  • @Dan Bron: My understanding was that malapropism was about using an incorrect word which generates nonsense. In this case, it's not nonsense; it's just not how people use the expression. Solecism is maybe what I'm looking for, though isn't that most commonly a grammatical mistake? – Rusty Tuba Dec 18 '14 at 19:39
  • This is a bit like a spoonerism, but that only applies to the transposing of particular sounds between two words, not the words in their entirety. – apsillers Dec 18 '14 at 19:41
  • It's similar to a mixed metaphor, where you combine pieces of two different sayings. – Barmar Dec 18 '14 at 21:19
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    How is the victory of one's spoils not nonsense? Unless the athlete gained spoils for another victory, and they somehow set out on a campaign by themselves to win victories, the sentences make no sense at all. – oerkelens Dec 18 '14 at 21:33

Misstatement. Yogi Bera made this his trademark, and they are now referred to as a "yogiisms".

For example: When Yogi says, "You can observe a lot by watching," he misstates a common adage: "You can learn a lot by watching."

There is more to a "yogiism" than misstating a set phrase, but that is a good part of his mystery.

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  • I gave you an up-vote because "Yogi-ism" was the first thing I thought of too... but, I'm a New Yawka. I wonder how widespread that expression is. Anyone? – Oldbag Dec 19 '14 at 2:23

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