This wonderful congruent conflation is a mash up of “you’re too smart for your own good” and “too big for your britches”, both describing a haughty person. This is a fairly common malaphor, evidenced by the amount of internet hits using this phrase. Contributing to the confusion is the use of the word “too”. Thanks to Sheva Gunnery for hearing this subtle mix up and passing it on!
No, this is not a line from The Walking Dead (although maybe it is…). It is a nicely formed malaphor, shared by that malaphor hunter, John Costello. John was speaking to his wife about calling a handyman and this was her response. It is a mash up of “chew the fat” (to chat) and ” pick his brain” (talking with someone to get information about something). I particularly like this one as it conjures up an image that was not intended. This malaphor was also spoken by the pitcher Matt Harvey last year:
Harvey said he did not get a chance to chat with Justin Verlander when the ace made the visit to Port St. Lucie. But Terry Collins , who is close with Tigers manager Jim Leyland, indicated he’d like to make a conversation happen.
“Hopefully I’ll chew his brain a little bit down the road,” Harvey said. “I just sat back and watched.”
This is a mash up of “make something out of whole cloth” (fabricate a lie) and “into thin air” (vanish without a trace). Thin and whole both describe size, which might contribute to the crossed wires. “Hot air” (not sincere with no practical results) might also be in the mix, as the speaker of this malaphor was a lawyer. Specifically, it was heard on “Dateline ID” with Lester Holt. A a defense attorney criticized the prosecution’s description of the accused as a Jekyll-Hyde personality, and then uttered this malaphor. A big thanks to my “ol’ pal”, Beatrice Zablocki for sending this one in.
This was seen on a Facebook post. It’s a nice mash up of “busy as a beaver” (very busy) and “happy camper” (happy person). The words beaver and camper have the same number of letters and similar sounds that probably added to the confusion. Of course, maybe the person really meant to describe a very busy happy person! Thanks to Vicki Ameel-Kovacs for sending this one in.
This mixed idiom is similar to “long road to hoe”, posted April 25, 2013. The phrases in this malaphor include “long road”, “tough row to hoe”, and “a mountain to climb”, all meaning tough or difficult situations. John Costello heard this on the HBO series True Detective, episode 5. Marty is trying to get back with Maggie. Maggie says “you have a long road to climb.” Of course, if you lived in or visited Pittsburgh or San Francisco, you might hear this one used literally. Thanks to John Costello for this one.
This alliterative congruent conflation is a mash up of “happy as a clam” and “happy as a pig in clover” or “in clover”, all meaning to be in a pleasant situation. I’m not sure you can be happier than this description. Ordinarily the clam would be happiest at high tide, a normal extension of that phrase. But perhaps the clam reveling in clover is the height of pleasure. A big thanks to Lou Pugliese for hearing his Dad utter this beauty and passing the malaphor on to me.
This phrase stands on its own, describing what one might do if one feels faint, but in context, it is a nice malaphor. The speaker is Tom Seaver, discussing the 69 Mets team and how they came back from adversity and never quit. Pretty sure he was mixing “not putting your tail between your legs” and “not hanging your head”, both expressions meaning not feeling ashamed or embarrassed. “keep your head up” (feeling calm in the face of adversity) also seems in play here. Thanks to Steve Hubbard who heard this on the MLB Network regarding Cinderella teams.