I was going to shoot from the gut

This gem was said in reaction to helping a family friend, and the speaker wanted to be as spontaneous as possible.  It is a blend of two phrases, “shoot from the hip”, and “a gut reaction”, both relating to doing or saying something quickly, or immediately responding.  Of course, shooting from the gut also occurs after too much partying.  A big thank you to Nate Brogin for uttering this one and passing it on!

That money was pissed out the window

This is a congruent conflation of  “pissed away” and “thrown out the window”, both meaning something wasted or gone.  The context was some friends discussing wasted money.  A big thanks to Andy Wakshul for hearing this one and sending it in.  As he said, “You wouldn’t want to walk past that window when they were spending money.”  True dat.

It was like pulling blood out of a stone

This is a perfect congruent conflation.  It mixes “getting blood out of (or from) a stone” and “like pulling teeth”, both phrases meaning to do something with great difficulty.  The speaker was finding a particular essay difficult to write and remarked that writing it was like pulling blood out of a stone.  A big thanks to Red C. for sending this one in from the U.K.

He who hesitates doesn’t get the early worm

Followers may recall a recent post from Marykathryn, who was described as “The Norma Crosby of Malaphors”, and who uttered the classic “do you think I would paint myself in a corner and throw away the key?”  She now has sent another classic, spoken out of exasperation.  Her husband apparently is a slow and cautious driver. He was trying to make a right hand turn onto a busy road and missed at least three chances that Norma Crosby perceived. So, she calmly said to him, “You know Danny, he who hesitates doesn’t get the early worm.”  This is a conflation of “he who hesitates is lost” (people should act decisively) and “the early bird catches the worm”  (the one who arrives first has the best chance for success).  It is somewhat congruent as both proverbs relate to acting quickly to achieve success.  Trivia tidbit – The Early Worm Gets the Bird was the name of a Merrie Melodies 1940s cartoon by the great Tex Avery.  A big thank you to Marykathryn for sending this one in!

They gave us an opportunity to learn by fire

The (un)Civil Professor of Malaphors, Martin Pietrucha, strikes again with this beauty overheard at a conference.  It is a perfect mash up of “learn by example” (educated by watching someone or something) and “baptism by fire” (a first experience of something, usually difficult).  “Under fire” (criticized) might also be in the mix, although I think the shared word here is “by”.

Do you think I would paint myself in a corner and throw away the key?

This is not a mix or conflation but rather a combination of two idioms, resulting in a very good malaphor.  The speaker states that she has a habit of mixing expressions and her husband calls her the Norm Crosby of malapropisms.  Actually this one is a malaphor and not a malaprop, so perhaps she is the Norma Crosby of Malaphors?  In any event, she said this one to her husband when he was questioning her decision on a particular case.  She said, “How stupid do you think I am? Do you think I would paint myself in a corner and throw the key away?” That ended the argument because he was laughing so hard.  The malaphor is a combination of “paint oneself in a corner” (get into a difficulty from which one can’t extricate oneself) and “lock someone up door and throw away the key” (incarcerate indefinitely).  Thanks to MaryKathryn for unintentionally uttering this one and sending it in!

This provided me with a real springstone to learn this new position

This gem was heard by the (un)Civil Professor of Malaphors, Martin Pietrucha.  This is a congruent conflation of “springboard” and “stepping stone”,  both describing something that launches a career or activity.  The word “springstone” reminded Martin of an old 80s EP record, Bruce Springstone: Live at Bedrock, which has a couple of songs on it done by the fictional Bruce Springstone who mashes up Springsteen and the Flintstones.  Great listening if you have never heard it:




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