You better fiddle for your supper

This strange advice was overheard at a bus stop by Jack Chandler.   I believe this is a mash up of “fiddle while Rome burns” (to do nothing or something trivial while something disastrous is happening) and “sing for your supper” (to do something in order to receive something).  Perhaps the speaker was thinking of the roaming violinist in some Italian restaurant or strolling strings at a banquet.  For some reason the malaphor reminds me of that John Denver song, Thank God I’m a Country Boy:

Well I got me a fine wife, I got me ol’ fiddle
When the sun’s comin’ up I got cakes on the griddle
And life ain’t nothin’ but a funny funny riddle
Thank God I’m a country boy

Thanks to Jack Chandler for sending this one in.



It’s right under my eyes

This subtle, perfectly formed malaphor is a mash up of “right under my nose” and “right before my eyes”, both meaning something obvious and not hidden.  This congruent conflation might also seem obviously correct but on reflection it is indeed a malaphor.   It is another example of mixed up idioms involving body parts, particularly on the head for some reason.  Another big thanks to the Midwest Regional Senior Malaphor Hunter, Mike Kovacs.

I got by by the squeak of my teeth

This is a congruent conflation of “by the skin of my teeth” and “squeaked by”, both meaning just barely.   My teeth seem to squeak when I rub my fingers over them, particularly after a good dental cleaning, so I can see where the speaker might be confused.  The phrase “squeaky clean” used to describe clean teeth (and other things) also comes to mind.  All in all, I think this malaphor is an improvement over the idioms noted above, don’t you?  A big squeaky clean thank you to Beverly Rollins Sheingorn VanDerhei (now there’s a mouthful!) for sending this one in!

He is behind the gun

This subtle malaphor is a mash up of “behind the 8 ball” (in trouble) and “under the gun” (under pressure).  Both idioms are very similar in meaning.  The context was facing a deadline, so the speaker probably meant under the gun.  The words behind and under are similar in indicating location, which I think adds to the mix up.  Many thanks to Senior Malaphor Hunter Mike Kovacs (note the title in caps).

At least you went down guns loaded, or guns blown, whatever.

Since it is NFL football Sunday, I thought I would share this nice little malaphor uttered by the Buffalo Bills quarterback, EJ Manuel.  After being benched in favor of Kyle Orton, he made it clear that he wants another chance.

“You don’t worry about the repercussions. If something happens, at least you went down guns loaded, or guns blown, whatever. You just go out there and let it rip. That’s what I’ve been practicing out there this week, against our defense, so just allowing myself to go out and make plays naturally.”

This is a mash up of  “went down fighting” and “go down with guns blazing”,  both meaning putting up a fight.  The malaphor results in exactly the opposite meaning – went down with guns loaded, i.e., did not put up a fight.   The “whatever” perhaps was an exasperated searching in his mind for the correct idiom.  That happens to me a lot.  Whatever.    A big thanks to John Costello for hearing this one and passing it along.  The sports world comes through again!

We are not on the edge of the curve with technology

The speaker described himself and his wife as not very tech savvy and then said this nice malaphor.  It is is a congruent conflation of  “cutting edge” and “ahead of the curve”, both meaning to be in front of others.  Being on the edge of the curve seems pretty precarious to me.  Thanks to Steve Hubbard for sending this one in!

That would just be gravy on the icing

The yuck factor is high on this one, but it’s a great malaphor.  It was said by someone who was discussing the possibility of getting more money than she anticipated.  This is a congruent conflation of “icing on the cake” and “the rest is just gravy”, both meaning an extra enhancement.  Perhaps this one describes a little too much enhancement.    Coincidentally, I received this malaphor from two people last week who don’t know each other so kudos to Deb Rose and Jonathan Ogle for sending this one in!



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