He cut me a favor

In season 2, episode 3 of The Sopranos, Tony Soprano’s teenage daughter, Meadow, has a party that gets out of control and requires police intervention. Tony gets her out of trouble with the police and says to her as they’re driving home: “Just lucky I knew that cop, so he cut me a favor.” This is a congruent conflation of “cut (one) a break” and “did (one) a favor”, both meaning to do something that makes a situation easier for someone else. My guess is that Tony was thinking of literally cutting up someone. Not sure, but The Sopranos is a treasure trove of malaphors. I devoted a whole section to them in my book, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”. Some of the best are “We’re in a f**king stagmire”, “keep your eyes on the tiger”, and my favorite, “we have a few dark sheep in the family”. https://malaphors.com/2013/07/02/we-have-a-few-dark-sheep-in-the-family/

Props to Barry Eigen for hearing this one and sending it in. I will add it to the Sopranos section!. Barry also noted that the syntax of this malaphor reminded him when hewas kid growing up in NYC. He would call up to his mother (on the 4th floor of an apartment building): “Throw me out the window a ball.” No defenestration there of course.

Let’s peek behind the hood

Rachel Maddow last night was talking about the Republican efforts to “audit” the 2020 election in some states. She revealed there is dark money supporting these efforts. At 9:44 pm EST (9/14/21 show) she said:

“And while we`re at it let`s peek behind the hood of this document, look at the metadata for this PDF, this letter and this sort of bogus letterhead on the top demanding the preservation of records by the county clerks.”


This is a congruent conflation of “peek behind the curtain” and “look under the hood”, both meaning to investigate or examine more closely. A big thank you to Frank King who heard this one and sent it in.

She is getting under my craw

The speaker was talking about a friend who occasionally irritates her. This is a nice mashup of “getting under my skin” (becoming a source of irritation) and “sticking in my craw” (to cause considerable resentment, rankle). Both phrases involve something or someone causing anger in another.

So what’s a craw?

A craw is the crop of a bird or insect, the transferred sense of the word to refer to a person’s gullet (Free Dictionary). A tip of the hat to Paula Garrety for hearing this one.

This should quench your curiosity

The source for this one is a website called Quora, and a posting about Paul McCartney’s brother. The exact quote is: “I’m sure I have others but this should quench your curiosity.” (The reference to “others” is to pictures of Paul and his brother.) This is a mashup of “quench your thirst” (to stop feeling thirsty) and “satisfy your curiosity” (enough of what you need to be contented). When you are “quenched” you are certainly “satisfied”, which probably created the mixup. Maybe one’s curiosity is quenched after one’s thirst of knowledge dries up. Here is the link to the malaphor:  https://www.quora.com/Who-is-Paul-McCartney-s-brother-and-what-does-he-look-like A big thanks to Barry Eigen for spotting this one and sending it in. I will add it to the “quench” malaphor library, that also includes “quench that itch!” https://malaphors.com/2018/04/21/quench-that-itch/

This is what we are dealing against

In a PBS Newshour story (August 31) about the effect of Hurricane Ida in Louisiana, Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee-Sheng was talking about the difficulties of residents just getting basic services, and uttered this congruent conflation of “dealing with” and “up against”, both referring to facing difficult challenges or problems. A shout out to Paula Garrety for hearing this one and sending it in. Our thoughts are with all of those folks in Louisiana.

When you begin to pull back the onion

This was noticed on a post entitled “Beauty and the Beast”, on the facebook music page, Robify Music: “When you begin to pull back the Neil Young onion”. This is a congruent conflation of “peel the onion” and “pull back the curtain”, both meaning to reveal or expose something. “Pull” and “peel” are similar sounding words and probably contributed to the mixup. A big thanks to Ron MacDonald for spotting this one and revealing it to all. Also a shout out to Robify Music, a fun facebook page on the music scene. https://www.facebook.com/Robifymusic/

He’s a walking time bomb

Okay, I said this one the other day, discussing The White Lotus character, Armond. It’s a mashup of “ticking time bomb” (a person, place or thing that at any moment could cause havoc and disastrous results) and “walking disaster” (someone who seems to constantly be in or cause great amounts of trouble). Both idioms describe trouble, for sure. I may also have been thinking of the Erie pizza bomber.

Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist

A flash in time

Mika Brzezinski said this one on Morning Joe on August 24 (6:07 am EST). It is a conflation of “a flash in the pan” (someone or something that draws a lot of attention for a short period of time) and “at this moment in time” (currently, right now). Both phrases describe something happening now and quickly, making it almost a congruent conflation. Mika might have also been thinking of “flashback”. A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one and sending it in.

He’s swinging with the fish

This was spotted in a New York Times article. Eduard Flores pleaded guilty to posting violent threats against Senator Raphael Warnock (D – Ga) before and during the January 6 insurrection. He included this malaphor in one of his threats. Note the use of “casting” immediately before uttering the mashup.

This “proud” boy was definitely thinking of fish…and unfortunately, ropes. This is a conflation of “sleeping with the fishes” (to be murdered and have one’s body dumped in a body of water) and “swinging from a rope” (to hang someone). A malaphor sometimes unwittingly reveals the truth. In this case, racism. A tip of the hat to Mike Kovacs for spotting this one!

Under a lot of heat

This was spoken by Bill Maher on Real Time with Bill Maher on the August 13 show (heard at 01:04:20). This is a congruent conflation of “facing or getting a lot of heat” and “under a lot of pressure”, both meaning to be facing or enduring a great amount of stress caused by some compelling influence. A big thanks to Frank King for once again hearing and sending in an excellent one.