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Cacography is deliberate comic misspelling, a type of humour similar to malapropism.[1][2]

The term in the sense of "poor spelling, accentuation, and punctuation" is a semantic antonym to orthography,[3] and in the sense of "poor handwriting" it is an etymological antonym to the word calligraphy: cacography is from Greek κακός (kakos "bad") and γραφή (graphe "writing").

A common usage of cacography is to caricature illiterate speakers,[4] as with eye dialect spelling. Others include the use to indicate that something was written by a child, to indirectly voice a cute or funny animal in a meme such as the captioned photo of a British shorthair that was the namesake of I Can Has Cheezburger?, or because the misspelling bears a humorous resemblance to a completely unrelated word.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "On the Real Side: Laughing, Lying, and Signifying: the Underground Tradition of African-American Humor that Transformed American Culture, from Slavery to Richard Pryor", by Mel Watkins, 1994, ISBN 0-671-68982-7, pp. 60, 62
  2. ^ "A History of American Literature Since 1870" by Fred Lewis Pattee, 1917, p.34, digitized by Google Books
  3. ^ "A Practical Grammar of French Rhetoric, by Gabriel Surenne", 1846, 150, digitized by Google Books
  4. ^ "The literary content of the New York Spirit of the times, 1831-1856", by Richard Boyd Hauck", 1965, p. 184