What is the term for changing a quote?
For example, changing 'Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?' to 'Who knows what mischief lurks in the hearts of children?'

  • 3
    A joke, a paraody, an [obscure] reference... I don't know exactly what you're asking. But The Shadow might know.
    – Jim
    Apr 26, 2015 at 21:35
  • Also riffing on a theme.
    – Dan Bron
    Apr 26, 2015 at 21:40

1 Answer 1


If you consider the alternative to convey a similar sense as the original, it could be called a paraphrase [more often found in the verb form]

Express the meaning of (the writer or speaker or something written or spoken) using different words, especially to achieve greater clarity: you can either quote or paraphrase literary texts

Oxford Dictionaries Online

According to some sources, such as American Heritage, the term can be used even if the meaning changes

The adaptation or alteration of a text or quotation to serve a different purpose from that of the original.

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