Coaches shouldn’t browbeat players over the head

This was uttered on a sports radio show (of course).  The speaker was talking about Tom Izzo and his rant at his players during the NCAA tournament.  It is a nice mashup of “browbeat (someone) into (something)” (bully or initmidate) and “beat (someone) over the head (with a fact or opinion)” (emphasize or repeat something strongly).  The word “browbeat” originally (1580s?) meant “to bear down with stern or arrogant looks,” and later became a term used for “bullying”.  A big thanks to John Kooser for hearing this one.


He’s got nothing to hang his head on

University of Virginia basketball guard Kyle Guy was remarking on the 42 point performance of Carsen Edwards of Purdue, even though Purdue lost.  This is a brilliant mashup of “hang (one’s) head” (express shame or contrition) and  “hang (one’s) hat on (something)” (depend or rely on something).  “Hang” is in both expressions and “head” and “hat” are similar sounding and visually close.  A big thanks to Tom Justice for hearing this one.  Wahoowa!

Throw her to the curb

This one was said by Ashley Pratte, Republican strategist, on MSNBC’s “Hardball” about Trump’s potential treatment of Nikki Haley if she were to run against him.  It is a mashup of “kicked to the curb” (discard or dismiss something or someone) and “throw (someone) under the bus” (to exploit someone’s trust for own personal gain).  “Throw (someone) to the wolves” (to put one in the position to be the recipient of blame) might also be in the mix.  The speaker might have been thinking about putting out her trashcans to the curb.  A big thanks to Beatrice (“my ol’ pal) Zablocki for hearing this one.  I dedicated my book “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors” (available on Amazon by the way) becasue of our friendship and joint love of words and language.

I’ll defend you to the nines

A father was talking to his daughter about always defending her actions.  It is a nice mashup of “dressed to the nines” (wearing very elegant or formal clothes) and “defend to the death your right to say (something)” (disapprove what another is saying but allow them to say it).  “Dressed to the nines” expression is thought to have originated from the 99th Wiltshire Regiment, a military unit noted for its smart appearance.

This one reminds me of the classic I posted a few years ago:  “She was dressed to a tee (or t)”.

A big thanks to Mike Kovacs, Chief Malaphor Reporter, for hearing this one.

There are people waiting around the wings

This one was uttered by Heather McGee on MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House with Nicolle Wallace.  She was referring to people wanting to challenge Donald Trump in 2020.  It is a mashup of “waiting in the wings” (stand ready to do something at the appropriate time) and I think “just around the corner” (very soon, imminent).  As followers of this website know, MSNBC is known as The Malaphor Channel.  Malaphors tend to be spoken when someone is filling up airspace, such as political pundits, sports radio shows, and athletes being interviewed.  A big thanks to Guy Moody for spotting this subtle one.

The swallows are coming home to roost

The speaker was talking about a group of people getting what they deserved based on their actions.  It is a conflation of “chickens coming home to roost” (facing the consequences of your actions) and the song “When the swallows come back to Capistrano”.  This one reminds me of one of my favorite malaphors that I previously posted and which appears in my book, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”:

Alabama State Representative John Rogers, in response to questions about his protests outside a hospital that is about to be closed, said “We’ll be here until the cows come home from Capistrano”.  Here’s the link:

Those swallows (or cows or chickens) from Capistrano sure get around.  A big thanks to John Kooser for hearing this one.

It sticks under my skin

Noah Rothman uttered this nice malaphor on the MSNBC show, “Morning Joe”, on March 21.  He was referring to Trump’s comments about McCain and Obamacare.  It is a congruent conflation (two idioms mixed with the same meaning) of “sticks in (one’s) craw” and “gets under (someone’s) skin”, both referring to something that is irritating or bothersome to someone.

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).  Perhaps Mr. Rothman is a Frank Sinatra fan, thinking of the song “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”.  A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one!