I want to rattle the treePosted: March 19, 2016
Another malaphor from the world of television. On a Dateline Internal Affairs episode, entitled Deadly Conspiracy, the Orange County Homicide Dept. wanted to do something to people involved in a murder conspiracy, so the chief detective Tom Dodds explained he wanted to “rattle the tree” and disturb their complacency. This is a mash up of “shake (someone’s) tree” (disturb or arouse someone to action) and “rattle (someone’s) cage” (to make someone angry on purpose). Both expressions involve annoying or disturbing someone, and the words “rattle” and “shake” are similar in meaning and often used together (e.g., shake, rattle and roll). A big thanks to “my ol’ pal” Beatrice Zablocki for hearing this one and passing it on!