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I want to thank you for giving me the down low

Alex Witt on MSNBC’s Live with Alex Witt uttered this on Saturday, October 13.  It is a nice mashup of “get the lowdown” (receiving specific facts or information on a situation) and “get the down and dirty” (receive uninhibited and direct news).  At first I thought he might have just inverted the phrase “the lowdown” but in context he was thinking of “down and dirty” as well.  A big thanks to Frank King who always gives the down low.

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We can break history

This is one of my favorites.  Donald Trump Jr. uttered this one when discussing the upcoming midterm elections.  He told ABC news, “So our people, the MAGA people, they have to turn out. They have to get out and vote. And I think we can break history.” https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-jr-father-trusts-smaller-group-aides-white/story?id=57735562

This is a mash up of “make history” (to do something historically significant) and I think “break a record” (to do something at a higher or greater degree than the greatest extent currently known).  Both expressions refer to achieving something never before achieved so it is close to a congruent conflation.  “Break with tradition” (to do something in a new way) might also be in the mix.  I am tempted to say “break wind” (to expel gas, fart) was also on the speaker’s mind but that is just a guess.  A big thanks to Jack Chandler for spotting this gem.


He knows where all the skeletons are buried

This was uttered by a guest on MSNBC’s Live with David Gura on Saturday September 15.  It is a nice conflation of “skeletons in the closet” (embarrassing or shameful secrets) and “knows where all the bodies are buried” (know everything about someone, especially secret things that they might not want revealed).  Bodies become skeletons when buried and rotting in the ground; hence the mash up.  Also both expressions involve secrets.  A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one and dishing it up.


Floods of laughter

This one was uttered by a work colleague talking about an Andy Kaufman bit that had an audience in “floods of laughter”.  It is a mash up of “flood of tears” (crying a lot) and “gales of laughter” (laughing a lot).  Not sure if the speaker is from the UK but if so “shakes with laughter” (uncontrollable laughter) might also be in the mix.  Certainly gales (strong winds) can be associated with flooding caused by a hurricane.  I would much prefer a flood of laughter, however.  A big thanks to Matt Whittaker for hearing this one and sending it in.


He’s laid down a line

Harry Litman was discussing Trump on MSNBC and uttered this nice malaphor.  It is a mash up of “lay down the law” (give an order or directive) and “draw a line” (to set a boundary). “Lay”, “line”, and “law” all seem to be part of the scramble here.  Mr. Litman has been the subject of a previous malaphor (“take no quarter”  https://malaphors.com/2018/04/13/take-no-quarter/) and was very good natured about it.  A true Pittsburgher, full of grace!  A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one and sending it in.

It struck a heart string with many

This beauty comes from a Fox News article about Wendy’s employees making a blind couple’s eating experience a good one.  The article states that “it struck a heart string with many.”  This is a congruent conflation of “strike a chord” and “tug at (one’s) heart strings”, both meaning to elicit a strong emotional response to something.  “Tugging” and “striking” are action words touching something and are probably the source of the mix up.  Certainly one can make “chords” with “strings”, and perhaps the author was thinking of “cords” instead of “chords” as cords are strings.  This is a classic malaphor.  A big thanks to Margaret Grover for spotting this one and sending it in.

I have heard my malaphor book, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available on Amazon, has struck many a heart string.  You can get it now for a cheap $6.99 (normally $7.99). https://www.amazon.com/dp/0692652205

 


You need to put your ducks in one basket

This one was overheard at a business meeting.  It is a nice conflation of “get your ducks in a row” (get well-organized) and “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” (don’t risk everything on one venture).  Idioms containing the words eggs, ducks, or baskets seem to get commonly jumbled.  Type any one of these words in the search and you will find many postings on the subjects.  A big thanks to John Hatfield III for hearing this one and sending it in.