A malapropism (from French mal propos, "ill to purpose") is an incorrect usage of a word by substituting a similar-sounding word with different meaning, usually with comic effect. The term comes from the name of Mrs. Malaprop, a character in Richard Brinsley Sheridan's comedy, The Rivals (1775), whose name was in turn derived from the existing English word malapropos, meaning "inappropriately".