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It’s slow sledding

The speaker was discussing a contract that was particularly difficult to draft.  It is a nice mashup of “rough (or tough) sledding” (difficult or turbulent period of time or undertaking) and “slow going” (a state of slow or arduous process).  Both idioms refer to a difficult process that is slow, tedious, and difficult.  The speaker also might have been thinking “snow sledding”, given the unusually hot temperatures right now.  A big thanks to Donna Doblick who confessed that she was indeed the speaker and for sharing this one.  It happens to us all, Donna.

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He put his lead foot in his mouth

The speaker was discussing Biden’s recent bragging about working with segregationists and uttered this malaphor. It is a mashup of “to put (one’s) foot in “one’s” mouth” (unintentionally say something foolish) and “have a lead foot” (tend to speed when driving).  “Go over like a lead balloon” (utter failure) might also be in the mix, as it seems to fit in context.  This one reminds me of the famous malaphor uttered by Ann Richards at the 1988 Democratic Convention, when she referred to George H.W. Bush as someone who “was born with a silver foot in his mouth”.  Check that one out in my website at https://malaphors.com/politics/.  A big thanks to John Kooser for uttering this one and unabashedly submitting it!


Paul Ryan shamelessly ran cover for Trump

This appears in the very first line of Eric Lutz’s piece in Vanity Fair on Paul Ryan’s interview with Politico’s Tim Alberta.  It is a congruent conflation of “run interference” and “provide cover” (take an action to avoid problems, on behalf of another individual).  “Run for cover” might also have been in the writer’s mind, located in the “freudian slip” area.  A big thanks to Frank King who spotted this one!


We were cocked and loaded to retaliate

This beauty comes from a Trump tweet.  Concerning a possible military strike against Iran, Trump tweeted, “We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die.”  This is a mashup of “locked and loaded” (a command to prepare for battle) and “to go off half-cocked” (to take a premature or ill-considered action).  Many news sites picked up on the malaphor, including Reuters, calling it a malaprop.  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-malaprop/trumps-half-cocked-and-loaded-tweet-draws-barrage-of-reaction-idUSKCN1TM2I0

We of course know it is not a malaprop (improper use of a word) but rather a malaphor (unintentional blend of two or more idioms).  A few loyal followers, including Ron MacDonald and Frank King, spotted this one.  Thanks Ron and Frank!


You need to pull the cord

I unintentionally blurted this one out to someone who was thinking of getting rid of his cable service.  It is a mash up of “pull the plug” (to force something to end) and “cut the cord” (discontinue cable service).  Both expressions involve discontinuing something, hence the mix up.  This one also comes free with a public service message:  always pull the plug, not the cord!  Now do you see how useful and helpful this website is?

 


Joe Biden needs to get out and shake the flesh

This one conjures up a scary/humorous image.  Former House Rep Joe Crowley (D-NY) (who was unseated by AOC) said this beaut on MSNBC today.  He was asked if he had any advice for the Biden campaign and this was his answer.  It is a congruent conflation of “press the flesh” and “shake hands and kiss babies”, both meaning to go out and meet as many people as possible.  Mike Kovacs, Chief Operating Officer for Malaphor Central, heard this one and sent it in immediately.  Mike noted that there are several cheap jokes embedded in this malaphor.  Crowley lost to AOC, who as many will remember shook the flesh in a great dance video.  Also, Mike queried whether Biden at his age could shake the flesh considering the loss of elasticity, but I believe that actually works to Joe’s advantage.


Word of the week: malaphor

The Compartments

A few weeks ago Susie Dent, in her Origin of Words slot on the Channel 4 show “Countdown”, featured the word “malaphor”. It’s a cross between a malapropism and a metaphor, or series of metaphors. Malapropism is a word that I have been aware of since the age of 12 and, unlike zeugma or synecdoche, has always come to mind when needed. I have known, for decades now, that it’s named after the character Mrs Malaprop from Sheridan’s play “The Rivals” (even though I have never seen it), but I needed this definition from the Oxford dictionaries website to confirm that the play was written in 1775. A malapropism is described in that definition as the “mistaken use of a word in place of a similar-sounding one, often with an amusing effect (e.g. ‘dance a flamingo’ instead of flamenco)”.

Malaphors do a similar thing, with metaphors instead of…

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