There are some quotations that people always seem to get wrong:

Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well. [Real quote from Hamlet: "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio."]

I have nothing to offer but blood, sweat and tears. [Real quote from Churchill: "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat."]

Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.* [Real quote from Mark Twain: "The report of my death is an exaggeration."]

I keep thinking there is a term for this, the way malapropism is a term for a misused word. I have the feeling I read the word somewhere, but all the Googling I've done doesn't give it up.

[*] This one is particularly galling to me, since Twain was such a master of understatement. Oh well ...


2 Answers 2


The closest I can come up with are just plain misquotation and corruption. How dull.

  • Dull, but accurate. As accurate as it gets I think.
    – Noldorin
    Jan 23, 2011 at 0:47
  • Thanks, Jon. I'm going to accept this while wistfully hoping some white knight will ride in and save the day with the exact word I think must exist somewhere out there. Otherwise I may have to coin one myself. But that will have to wait for inspiration ...
    – Robusto
    Jan 25, 2011 at 15:25

TV Tropes gives Beam me up, Scotty!

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