There are people falling behind the crack

Jeannie Blaylock, a TV news anchor in Jacksonville, Fl, uttered this one when she was discussing the financial strain of COVID.   It is a congruent conflation of people “falling through the cracks” and “falling behind”, both meaning those who are not helped by the system which is supposed to deal with them.  “Falling” is the common word here, and is the cause of the mashup.  A tip of the crack to Lou Pugliese who heard this gem.


This flips the tables

This was spotted in a Washington Post Op-Ed piece by Greg Sargent, discussing Biden’s plan to produce more jobs in the United States.  Here’s the excerpt:

Biden, by contrast, will do what Trump didn’t: Use active, interventionist government to actually create jobs and rebuild U.S. manufacturing capacity. While there’s no question the left deserves credit in pushing Biden in this direction, his broader agenda has proved unexpectedly progressive.

“This flips the tables,” Jared Bernstein, a progressive economist and outside adviser to the Biden campaign, told me. “It doesn’t just block incentives to send jobs overseas; it creates new ones to create jobs here.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/09/09/trump-has-one-last-remaining-lifeline-biden-is-moving-sever-it/

This is a congruent conflation of “turns the tables” and “flips the script”, both meaning to reverse or change something dramatically.  If Sargent had really meant to flip tables, he might have been tempted to use one of many emojis expressing this – see  https://cutekaomoji.com/misc/table-flipping/

A flip of the hat to Mike Kovacs for spotting this perfectly formed congruent conflation.

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻


I am slipping on my words

This tongue-tied malaphor should be the slogan for all malaphors.  It is a mashup of “tripping over (one’s) words” (speak unclearly) and “slip of the tongue” (an error in speaking).  “Stumble over (one’s) words” might also be in the mix.  Using the tongue to speak was clearly on the speaker’s mind when she confused slip and trip.  A big thank you to Doree Simon who uttered and sent in this mixup.


Michigan gave us Motang

This terrific word blend was uttered by our Malaphorer-in-Chief at a rally in Michigan:

During his rally in Freeland, Michigan, Trump told the packed and largely maskless crowd that “Michigan gave us Motang,” then added “Gave us Motown, gave us the Mustang.”

You can hear the clip here:  https://www.mediaite.com/news/watch-trump-tells-crowd-michigan-gave-us-motang-and-twitter-has-a-field-day/

It is of course a mashup of Motown and Mustang, two things that Trump said Michigan gave us.  Word blends are a subset of malaphors.  They 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 on my website are “Buckminster Palace” (Buckingham and Westminster, and/or possibly Buckminster Fuller) and “split-minute decision” (split second and last minute).  Word nerds might say these are portmanteaus, but a portmanteau is a combination of two (or more) words or morphemes, and their definitions, into one new word.

A big thank you to Bruce Ryan for hearing this one and sending it in immediately.  It is actually getting quite a buzz on Twitter.


So to say

This subtle little malaphor was found in a Washington Post article:

“This is going to force Joe Biden to come out of the basement, so to say,” said Robert Graham, a former Arizona Republican Party chairman. “People don’t just want ‘content.’ They want to see him out there.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-to-resume-in-person-campaigning-as-race-with-trump-kicks-into-gear/2020/08/29/c2257ab4-e94a-11ea-970a-64c73a1c2392_story.html

It is a congruent conflation of “so to speak” and “you might say”, both meaning to be said a certain way, even though the words are not exactly accurate.  Kudos to Bruce Ryan for spotting this one.


tighten the gap

Chris Hayes said this one on his MSNBC show on 9/1. discussing the Presidential race.  “It is possible for Donald Trump to tighten the gap…”  This is a congruent conflation of “narrow the gap” and “tighten the race”, both meaning to make closer.  A tip of the toque to Frank King for hearing this subtle one.

We’re really rounding the turn

Another trumpafor.  Trump uttered this one at a recent news conference, discussing the coronavirus.  Here is the text:

“We’re really rounding the turn. The vaccines are coming. The therapeutics have already come but they’re continuing to come,” Trump said of the coronavirus.

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/515223-trump-maintains-us-rounding-the-turn-on-coronavirus

This is a congruent conflation of “rounding the corner”, “turning the corner”, and “rounding the bend”, all meaning to begin to find success after a troubling period.  A big thanks to Fred Martin and Sam Edelmann for both hearing this one.

Trump maintains US 'rounding the turn' on coronavirus | TheHill


Trump has his fingers in all those pots

This one was uttered by Joy Reid on her MSNBC show.  It is a conflation of “finger in every pie” (involvement in several different activities) and “chicken in every pot” ( a symbol of wealth and prosperity).   The latter phrase came from a newspaper advertisement by the Republican National Committee during Herbert Hoover’s 1928 presidential campaign. The ad pointed out that the preceding administrations of presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge had “put the proverbial ‘chicken in every pot.’ And a car in every backyard, to boot.” Although credited with the statement, Hoover never promised “a chicken in every pot.” In a similar vein, King Henry IV of France vowed on his coronation in 1589 that “if God grants me the usual length of life, I hope to make France so prosperous that every peasant will have a chicken in his pot on Sunday.” His assassination in 1610 at age fifty-seven stymied such a plan.

A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one and sending it in!


Put a little elbow sweat into it

The speaker’s daughter was brushing the cat very lightly.  Wanting to get more fur off since the cat was shedding, the speaker uttered this nice malaphor.  It is a congruent conflation of “elbow grease” and “break a sweat”, both meaning to put forth a large effort or amount of energy to complete a task.  “Work up a sweat” might also be in the mix as it also means to exert a lot of energy to complete a task.  This one reminds me of one of my favorites: “Let’s roll up our elbows and get to work”. https://malaphors.com/2012/07/30/lets-roll-up-our-elbows-and-get-to-work/

A tip of the hat to John Kooser who realized he had uttered the malaphor, and then promptly sent it in.