Word of The Day for Thursday, March 24, 2011


mal•ap•ro•pos (mal-ap-ruh-POH)

1. inappropriate; out of place; inopportune; untimely

2. inappropriately; inopportunely

1668; from Fr. mal à propos "inopportunely, inappropriately," lit. "badly for the purpose," from mal "evil, ill, wrong, wrongly," from L. male (adv.) "badly," or malus (adj.) "bad, evil" + proposer "propose" from pro- "forth" + poser "put, place"

Synonyms: inappropriate, inapposite, inapt, infelicitous, inopportune, tactless, uncalled for, unseemly, unsuitable, untimely
Related Words: malapropism, propose

Sentence Examples:
• It was simply this--a most unfortunate propensity to talk of the wrong place, person, or time, in any society he found himself; and this taste for the mal apropos, extended so far, that no one ever ventured into company with him as his friend, without trembling for the result; but even this, I believe his only fault, resulted from the natural goodness of his character and intentions; for, believing as he did, in his honest simplicity, that the arbitrary distinctions of class and rank were held as cheaply by others as himself, he felt small scruple at recounting to a duchess a scene in a cabaret, and with as little hesitation would he, if asked, have sung the "Cruiskeen lawn," or the "Jug of Punch," after Lablanche had finished the "Al Idea," from Figaro. -The Confessions of Harry Lorrequer, Charles James Lever

• CHARLOTTE: Mr. Dimple, will you favour us with an account of the public entertainments?
DIMPLE: Why, really, Miss Manly, you could not have asked me a question more mal-apropos.  For my part, I must confess that, to a man who has travelled, there is nothing that is worthy the name of amusement to be found in this city.
-The Contrast, Royall Tyler

• On Vivid's return home, his gratification was soon diminished by the recollections of "existing circumstances," and these caused him to sink into a gloomy and desponding state; when Sam Alltact, rather malapropos, entered with a black-edged card, inviting his master to the funeral of a deceased acquaintance, an eminent young artist, named Gilmaurs, who, never having been an R.A., but simply an engraver of extraordinary genius, was not to be buried under the dome of St. Paul's, but in a village churchyard.  -The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction

Sources: Sources

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