We played our hearts off

This was spoken by Pittsburgh Penguins hockey player Carl Hagelin after winning the Stanley Cup.  It is a congruent conflation of “played our butts off” and “played our hearts out”  (to an extreme degree or very hard).  Out and off are the culprits here.  Of course, maybe Carl is a bridge player.  A big thanks to Jake Holdcroft for hearing this one on a local sports program and passing it on!


What planet are you living under?

This botched question is a mashup of the phrases “on another planet” (oblivious to one’s surroundings or acting strangely) and “what crawled from under a rock” (someone or something unsavory or disliked).  It might be appropriate for Atlas but not sure who else.  A big thanks to Hannah Evanuik for unintentionally saying this one and Jake Holdcroft for passing it on!


The speaker meant to say “package” but this came out.  It is  a nice word blend malaphor  of “box” and “package”.  Since most packages in the mail now come in boxes, thanks to Amazon and the internet, “bockage” was eventually going to be spit out by someone.   And really, isn’t it a nice word?  Sounds like the lord of the manor pronouncing “package”.  Also could be used when there are delays in shipping:  “Sorry, we have a bockage right now”.   A big thanks to Martin Pietrucha who accidentally blurted this one out and shared it immediately!

If you like this word blend check out my book on malaphors entitled “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available on Amazon.  Just click this link:  There’s a whole chapter devoted to word blends, which are not portmanteaus, by the way (explanation in the book!).

It tickled my fancy bone

This is a nice mash up of “tickled my fancy” and “it tickled my funny bone” (to make someone laugh).  To laugh and be curious at the same time?  Perhaps, but in this case just another great malaphor. Tickle is the culprit here, as well as the similar sounding words “fancy” and “funny”.  A big thanks to “Curious Steph” who wrote this accidentally.  By the way, she is starting a new blog –,  Check it out.

They’re getting ready to lower the bomb on them

The speaker was talking about an incident involving some students on campus and said to a colleague, “they’re getting ready to lower the bomb on them.”  This is a nice mashup of “lower the boom” (to scold or punish someone) and “drop the bomb” (to reveal startling information).   Bombs go BOOM so there you go.   A big thanks to frequent contributor Martin Pietrucha who unintentionally blurted this one out.
If you enjoyed this one there are many more just like it in my malaphor book, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available on Amazon now!  Makes a perfect bathroom read.

Anne of Seven Gables

This might be the first literary malaphor posted.   A friend was discussing books and mentioned this one.  It is a mash up of Anne of Green Gables, a children’s novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery, and The House of the Seven Gables, a novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne.  Gables created the garble.   A shout out to Martin Pietrucha for uttering this one and then man enough to send it in.

That game was a real nail-breaker

I just heard this nice word blend malaphor today.  A couple of guys in the sauna were talking about the Penguins/Predators final game for the Stanley Cup and one blurted this out.  It is a mash up of “nail-biter” (a situation whose outcome is marked with nervous apprehension) and “heart-breaker” (a situation that causes great sadness).  Since the subject was hockey, perhaps “icebreaker” (to initiate a conversation or get it started) was also on the speaker’s mind.