I would like to know the term-- if there is one-- for purposefully misspelling words for comedic effect.For example: a character in a story wishes to use the word "sublime," remembers only that it's sub + citrus fruit, says sublemonal (pronounced subliminal).

I have found reference to sensational spelling (doesn't quite capture the spirit) and to orthoepy / cacoepy (which I believe refers to pronunciation).

Thank you!

  • Sublemonal would appear to be an almost subliminal pun. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 3 '18 at 19:19
  • Soonerism, sorry, spoonerisms. I don't have the inclination or the energy to write an answer. – Mari-Lou A Feb 3 '18 at 19:31
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    @Mari-LouA - You need to get yourself a cup of covfefe! – Hot Licks Feb 3 '18 at 20:11
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    Why not say: misspelling words for comic effect? Is something wrong with that? comedic=refers to comedy; comic refers to something funny. – Lambie Feb 3 '18 at 20:39
  • Is it really Spoonerism @Mari-LouA? I always thought Spoonerism was/is usually swapping the letters of words. My Dad was a great proponenent of that. A proponent! Should've thought of that word the other day. I think this example is more Mallapropism. My Grandma, was a great proponent of that! I remember her once announcing 'Oh! Look at that new building! It's been reburnished!!' – Jelila Feb 4 '18 at 3:44

Thanks to @ Jelila and @Mari-LouA in the comments for two possible answers. I believe the term that bests describes what I am am doing (or rather what my character is doing) is malapropism (one "l"). From Random House unabridged (1993): "malapropism an act or habit of misusing words ridiculously by confusion of words that are similar in sound; an instance of this." From Malaprop, "a character in Sheridan's The Rivals, noted for her misapplication of words." [Sorry haven't learned how to insert paragraph break yet.] In the grander scheme of the story this better captures what Missy (a talking dog) is doing.

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