It blew our socks off

This descriptive malaphor is a congruent conflation of “blew our minds” and “knocked our socks off” (surprised someone thoroughly).  It was uttered by scientists when they saw a picture of Charon, Pluto’s largest moon.  In my limited research, I found that this actually might be a legitimate phrase in England.  But, since this is a U.S. blog, I am treating it as a malaphor.  After all, I am the malaphor king.  A big planetary thank you to Mike Kovacs, who has now been elevated (or demoted?) to Malaphor Science Correspondent.

Keep your mouth down

This is a great congruent conflation of “keep your mouth shut” and “keep it down”, both meaning to keep quiet.  “Keep” is the shared word that adds to the confusion.  It was heard on the movie “The Watch”.  Here’s the context (heroes talking to the skeptical police):

There’s aliens in the store.

Oh yeah? Aliens. Where?

It was right over there until you scared it. Now keep your mouth down.

A big thanks to Barry Eigen for spotting this one and passing it on!

the watch



At the drop of a whim

This beauty was heard on TMZ.  It is a mash up of “at the drop of a hat” (doing something immediately) and “on a whim” (impulse).  Both expressions indicate doing something quickly without thinking, making it a congruent conflation.  Both expressions begin with prepositions indicating location, adding to the confusion.  Perhaps the thinker was also thinking of the brim (rhyming with whim) of a hat.  A big thanks to Vicki Kovacs for hearing this one and passing it on!

I have a pulse to the ground

This timely malaphor was recently uttered by Donald Trump.  An article in the July 20, 2015 New York Times quotes The Donald:

“I have a pulse to the ground,” he added. “I think I know what’s wrong with the country, and I think I’ve been able to portray that in a way that people agree with.”

This is a conflation of “have my finger on the pulse” (to be familiar with the most recent developments) and “have my ear to the ground” (to watch and listen carefully to what is happening around you).  Lots going on with this one.  Fingers go into ears, etc.  This one is similar to the March 23, 2015 entry, “keep your finger on the ball”.   A big thank you to Paula Garrety for seeing this one and passing it on!


I have a lot of plates up in the air

Heard on a conference call, this is a great congruent conflation of “a lot of balls in the air” and “a lot on my plate”, both meaning having a great deal or too much to deal with.  My guess is that the speaker was also thinking not only of ball juggling but also plate spinning, both common juggling acts.  Thanks to John Costello for hearing this one and passing it on!

I don’t think I said anything in particular that got under his nerve

This was heard at a Judicial Conference by not one but two faithful malaphor followers!  The speaker was talking about presenting an argument before a testy Federal Circuit Court Judge.  It is a congruent conflation of “to get under someone’s skin” and “on someone’s nerve”, both meaning to irritate or bother someone.  Directions can be confusing, so the mix of under and on is understandable.  Also skin contains nerves, adding to the mix up.   Thanks to Deb Rose and JoErin O’Leary for both hearing this one and passing it on.

He’s a man of all trades

This is a mash up of “jack of all trades”  (versatile person) and either “man of the world” (experienced), “man of the hour” (important),  or “man for all seasons” (successful in many types of activity).  “Tradesman” might also be in the brain mix.  Thanks to Katie Hatfield for hearing this one in a conversation and passing it on!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 795 other followers