We’re back to square zero

This nice malaphor was heard on Season 1 Episode 2 of Cold Case Files; “Killing on Christmas Eve”.
22:39 into episode.   Video is below.  It’s a congruent conflation of “back to square one” and “ground zero”, both meaning starting place or at the beginning.  This is a bookend of a previous posting, “starting from ground one”, posted in 2012.  https://malaphors.com/2012/11/07/starting-from-ground-one/.  Both idioms have numbers – zero and one – contributing to the confusion.  many thanks to Mike Ameel for hearing this one, sharing it, and sending me the video to prove it!  This is not fake news, folks.


This plant is dry as a rock

This was said by a friend about a houseplant.  It is a nice mashup of “hard as a rock” (very hard) and “dry as a bone” (very dry).  Bones and rocks are both dry and hard, and are both one syllable words, hence the metaphor mixup.  A big thanks to frequent malaphor contributor Yvonne Stam for hearing this one and sending it in!

People who live in glass houses shouldn’t flog dead horses

This was overheard in a check-out line conversation, and is a great piece of “advice”.  It is a nice mashup of “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” (you should not criticize other people who have the same faults as you have) and “flog (or beat) a dead horse” (to insist on talking about something that no one is interested in).   It’s a classic malaphor, incorporating two idioms to make a strange statement.  Horses and houses seem to be the culprit here.  A big thanks to Jeremy of Smoke-Eaters Studio for hearing this one and sending it in!

That’s right up my cup of tea

Not sure of the context on this one, but it it was uttered unintentionally, making it a nice malaphor.  It is a mix of “not (one’s) cup of tea” (not something one prefers or enjoys) and “right up (one’s) alley” (ideally suited to one’s interests or abilities).  The confusion I think is caused by two idioms that concern someone’s interests or preference. A big thanks to Joe Dolan for sending this one in!


The floor to ceiling windows really knock you off your socks

This gem was heard on HGTV’s Island Life (Hilton Head episode).  It is a congruent conflation of “knock (someone’s) socks off” (bedazzle or amaze someone) and “knock (someone) off their feet”, both meaning to amaze, bedazzle, or blow someone away.  Certainly the confusion was caused by feet and socks, and the common denominators “off” and “knock”.  A “knock out” also comes to mind, again referring to impressing someone.  Kudos to Robyn Bottoni for hearing this one and sending it in!

My book on malaphors, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other malaphors”, will also knock you off your socks….with laughter!  Get it now on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0692652205!

My dog is healthy as a clam

In describing his pet’s lifestyle, the speaker accidentally said that his dog was healthy as a clam.  This is a nice mashup of “healthy as a horse” (very healthy) and “happy as a clam” (very happy).  The words healthy and happy are similar in sound and shape, contributing to the mental mix up.  Happy clams seem to be on people’s malaphor minds, as a prior one posted illustrates – “happy as a clam in clover”. https://malaphors.com/2014/08/15/im-as-happy-as-a-clam-in-clover/.   A big thanks to Johann Chancey for saying this one and sending it in!


That’s a tough crowd to follow

This is a mashup of “a tough act to follow” (a difficult performance or presentation after a successful one by someone else) and  “follow the crowd” (do what everyone else is doing).  The word “follow” seems to be the culprit in this mix up as it appears in both idioms.  As John Polk, the submitter said, “crowds are easy to follow, until they turn into a mob.”  Truer words were never spoken.  A big thanks to “Cliches Gone Wild” John Polk for sending this one in!  His logo for his twitter account @clichesgonewild appears below.