Cross bases

From a work zoom call uttered by a co-worker: “I’ll ask the next time I cross bases with him.”  This is a mashup of “cross paths” (encounter someone) and “touch base” (contact someone or update someone). This is a near congruent conflation, as both phrases involve an interaction between people. rh, both meaning to encounter or contact somewomeonconfObviously cross paths and touch base. A big thanks to Mike Ameel for hearing this one and passing it on!

He’s way in over his skis

Kimberly Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of Donald Trump, Jr. announced on Newsmax Tuesday that she “knows” Vice President Kamala Harris is secretly in charge of the White House.

“It’s really sad, he’s way in over his skis,” former Fox News personality Kimberly Guilfoyle said of Biden during an appearance on Newsmax.

“Kamala Harris is really the de facto commander-in-chief,” she argued. “She made it very clear.”

“She’s calling the shots here, I know this, I’ve known her a long time,” Guilfoyle said.

Indeed, Guilfoyle first met Harris over twenty years ago. Back then, Guilfoyle was dating Gavin Newsom, the current Democratic governor of California. The two were married in 2001 and Guilfoyle became the first lady of San Francisco when he was sworn in as mayor in 2004. They went on to divorce in 2006.

But it is difficult to imagine how Guilfoyle now has insight into the inner workings of the Biden White House, which she sought to block from happening while being paid by the re-election campaign of her boyfriend’s father.

This is a mashup of “out over (one’s) skis” (get ahead of yourself) and “in over (one’s) head” (in a situation too difficult to deal with). This is similar to a previous post about skis: “let’s not get ahead of our skis”. “Out” and “in” here seemed to confuse Ms. Guilfoyle.

A shout out to Mike Kovacs, who seems to catch malaphors on a daily basis. Bravo Mike.

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A yankering

A couple were talking about what cocktail to have, and the wife said “I didn’t know what you had a yankering for”. This is a great single word blend AND congruent conflation of “having a yen for” and “having a hankering for”, both meaning to have a strong desire or craving for something.

One may ask, “but Dave, isn’t this a portmanteau”? Not really.

The main difference is that a portmanteau is an intentional word blend while a malaphor is unintentional.  There are other differences:

A portmanteau is a combination of two (or more) words or morphemes, and their definitions, into one new word. A portmanteau word generally combines both sounds and meanings, as in smog, coined by blending smoke and fog. More generally, it may refer to any term or phrase that combines two or more meanings, for instance, the term “wurly” when describing hair that is both wavy and curly.

The word “portmanteau” was first used in this context by Lewis Carroll in the book Through the Looking-Glass (1871), in which Humpty Dumpty explains to Alice the coinage of the unusual words in Jabberwocky, where “slithy” means “lithe and slimy” and “mimsy” is “flimsy and miserable”. Humpty Dumpty explains the practice of combining words in various ways by telling Alice,

‘You see it’s like a portmanteau—there are two meanings packed up into one word.’

My single word blend malaphors are unconscious blends of words to make an unintentional new word. The word sounds or looks correct at first blush, but then on closer examination is incorrect. Examples so far on my website are “Buckminster Palace” (Buckingham and Westminster, and/or possibly Buckminster Fuller) and “split-minute decision” (split second and last minute).

“Yankering” fits the definition of single work blend malaphor. First, it was said unintentionally. Second, the blend did not form a new word. Third, it did not combine two or more meanings. Having said all that, I sure would like to see “yankering” added to the dictionary. Maybe with the definition “a REALLY STRONG desire or craving for something”.

A big thanks to Barry Eigen who heard his wife say this, and knew malaphor gold had struck.

Are they sitting on their tongues?

On CNN’s Prime Time with Chris Cuomo (May 3, 2021), Rick Santorum was responding to Charlie Dent regarding Republicans unwilling to cross Trump:

SANTORUM: –with all due respect, Charlie, I agree with you that there are many in this party, and I think it’s sad that there are many in this party, that have sort of a cult of personality attraction to Donald Trump, and they get a lot of play on the national media.

But I can tell you that the vast majority of Republicans, in the House and Senate, don’t have that personal connection to Donald Trump. But they are very, very much afraid about what’s going to happen here in the next couple of years, if Republicans don’t get control of the House of Representatives in 2022.

And what they don’t want is a civil war, where Donald Trump is splitting off and running candidates every – in every single election, dividing Republicans, and causing a victory for the Democrats, in 2022, which they think the consequences, not just politically, but more importantly, for the future of the country are dire.

So yes are they sitting on their tongues, and they’re – they’re not – they’re not going after Donald Trump. But they’re trying – what they’re trying to do is, what Kevin McCarthy and leadership has been trying to do is walk the razor’s edge of trying to hold the party together, and to see – so we can stop this march toward socialism that Joe Biden has put us on.

This is a beautiful mashup of “sitting on (one’s) hands” (to refrain from acting or helping) and “biting (one’s) tongue” (to struggle not to say something that you really want to say). The visual of this is a good one. This malaphor reminds me of one of The Master’s best (see my first book, “He Smokes Like a Fish and Other Malaphors” for an introduction to and discussion of The Master). He was talking about a situation where a few people were waiting to see if they received a promotion, and described them as “sitting on their hands and needles”.

A big shout out to Jim “Koz” Kozlowski for hearing this gem and passing it on!

I blew my hand

This was uttered by the Queen of Malaphors, Naomi David. She wanted to say “blew my chances” (ruin or miss an opportunity) but was also thinking of “show my hand” (to reveal one’s intentions to someone) at the same time. “Force my hand” (to push someone to do something that one is not inclined to do) might also have been in the mix. A big thanks to Katie Norwood for reporting this one and of course Ms. David for unintentionally blurting it out.

Did you like this one? If so, check out my two collections of malaphors, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors” and “Things Are Not Rosy-Dory”. Both are available on Amazon and are cheap! Great bathroom reads!

Are you putting a stake in the sand?

On the ABC show “Shark Tank”, Kevin “Mr. Wonderful” O’Leary asked his colleague Lori Greiner if she was delivering an ultimatum in their negotiations for an investment in a participant’s business. This is a conflation of “a stake in the ground” (to take a first step to get something started) and “a line in the sand” (a point in which one will not go or budge). Maybe the investment was property in Florida? A big thanks to Mike Kovacs for hearing this one and sending it in.

Stir the water

Yeardley Smith, host of the true crime podcast “Small Town Dicks”, was referring to a crime victim’s unwillingness to confront her boyfriend and that “she didn’t want to stir the water.” This is a nice mashup of “stir the pot” (exacerbate a tense or otherwise difficult situation) and “muddy the water(s)” (introduce something, usually information, that makes a situation less clear). Pots usually contain water, and we often stir them, so the speaker may have had that image in her mind. By the way, Ms. Smith is also known as the voice of Lisa Simpson on the great tv show “The Simpsons”.

A big shout out to Vicki Ameel Kovacs for hearing this one.

He put the dots together

This was heard on the true crime podcast “The Murder Squad”. The host, Billy Jensen, was talking about how a detective was able to solve a cold case. The malaphor is a congruent conflation of “piece together” and “connect the dots”, both meaning to understand something by analyzing and putting together bits of information to reveal something hidden. This one will be added to my “dots collection”, malaphors that contain the word “dot”. Just type in the word “dot” in the search engine on the website to see some the others. A tip of the toque to Mike Kovacs for hearing this one and sending it in.

That rubs a nerve with some people

Tamron Hall was interviewing Paulina Porizkova on her show, and they were discussing the backlash created by Paulina modeling lingerie in her 50s. Tamron then said, “that rubs a nerve with some people”. Catch it at the 18 second mark:

This is a congruent conflation of “rub (someone) the wrong way” and “touches a (raw) nerve”, both meaning to irritate someone or evoke a strong emotion. On the other hand, perhaps Tamron was uttering a Freudian slip or euphemism when discussing one’s reaction to Paulina in lingerie.

A big thank you to Mike Kovacs for spotting this one and sending it in!

Leaving him out to dry

This malaphor was uttered by Mehdi Hasan, who was subbing for Chris Hayes on MSNBC’s show “All In with Chris Hayes”. Indicating what was going to be discussed that night, Hasan said this at the beginning of the April 1 show:

“Plus, the latest on the Matt Gaetz investigation and the Republicans leaving him out to dry.”

This is a congruent conflation of “hang (one) out to dry” and “leave (someone) high and dry”, both meaning to desert or leave one in a troubling situation. “Dry” is the shared word here, contributing to the mashup. Also “hang” and “leave” are juxtaposed, causing more confusion. Of course, maybe Hasan is actually indicating Gaetz is a wet mess and a little sunshine would do him good. A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one and passing it on!