Take a left

I heard this one in spinning class today.  The instructor was telling the class to lighten up after a vigorous climb.  It is a mash up of “take a break” (relax) and “turn to the left” (ease the tension of the bike).  This nice malaphor combines the instructor’s two thoughts in one! Oh, and it was a great class.

She should face the piper

This is a wonderful congruent conflation of “face the music” and “pay the piper”, both meaning to accept the sometimes unpleasant results of an action.   I saw this in a website called “Expertlaw”:

“Our 13 year old was caught stealing a necklace retailing for $4.50. We are so shocked and disappointed by her actions. In addition, we are unsure what to do or what to expect in terms of prosecution, etc. We feel she should face the “piper” but we hope that it is tempered or that the punishment will fit the crime. We have taken personal action but have no idea what we should/could expect from the Michigan courts. Can you provide some idea? Thanks”


There also is a quote attributed to the basketball player Tim Hardaway – “I was always taught if you do something, face the piper.  Try to make it right.”    So let’s go do something today and face the piper!

You knew that you struck lightning

This is a nice mash up of “lightning strikes” and “struck gold”, the latter meaning to hit it big.   This gem was heard on the Howard Stern show this morning during an interview with Dan Rather.  Stern asked Rather about the 1968 Democratic Convention where he was physically assaulted on camera.  Rather continued to report on the story despite the assault.  Stern said to Rather, “you knew that you struck lightning.”  Rather then repeated the malaphor as he continued discussing the incident.   A big thanks to Mike Kovacs for spotting this one!

Howard Stern Radio Personality Howard Stern attends an

A bigger piece of the pot

I think this is a mash up of “bigger piece of the pie” (share of something) and “sweeten the pot” (make something more desirable).  Pie and pot are three letter words starting with p, increasing the confusion.  Also in poker the pot is the collection of money to be won, often being divided in card games so that one may get a “share” of the pot.   Thanks to Martin Pietrucha who heard this in a presentation.

He really blew the boat

The speaker was referring to someone who had missed a big opportunity.  This is a congruent conflation of “missed the boat” and “blew his chance”, both meaning to miss an opportunity.  For some reason, “flew the coop” also comes to mind because of the rhyming of “flew” and “blew”.  Nothing else comes to mind.  A big shout out to Naomi David for sending this one in!

I’m shooting from the cuff

This is a wonderful malaphor involving the phrases “off- the- cuff” (speak spontaneously without rehearsal) and “shooting from the hip”  (speaking frankly).   Phil Jackson, in deciding to take over the New York Knicks, uttered this malaphor at the beginning of his acceptance speech.  Click on the link below and then click on the video in the link.. He says, in the opening sentence, that “I’m shooting from the cuff.”    Thanks to Martin Pietrucha for hearing this one and passing it on!

Phil Jackson shook hands with New York Knicks owner James Dolan, walked gingerly to the podium and comfortably lifted the microphones to fit his 6-foot-8 frame.

“I don’t have prepared remarks, as you can see,” Jackson said, practically bragging. “I’m shooting from the cuff.”


Phil Jackson, the new president of the New York Knicks, answers questions during a news conference, Tuesday, March 18, 2014 in New York. Jackson, who won...

That’s just peachy-dory!

This is a mash up of the expressions peachy keen and hunky-dory, both meaning fine or satisfactory.  This seems to be a fairly common malaphor, based on internet hits.  Now hunky keen is a different matter….Thanks to Char Stone for sending this one in!


the first of david bowie s classic albums hunky dory provides an early ...


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