It’s not out of the bag yet

A discussion took place about a potential contract.  The person pursuing the contract said there were significant problems, “but it’s not out of the bag yet”.   This is a good example of an incongruent conflation (mixing two idioms with opposite meanings).   It is a mash up of “in the bag” (a certain thing) and “out of reach” (unattainable).  “Not out of the woods” (not past a critical phase) may also be in the mix, as it seems in context with the speaker’s intention that obtaining the contract has not quite been achieved.  Opposite words such as “in” and “out” seem to confuse the brain and mouth frequently.  Kudos to Sam Edelmann for hearing this one and passing it on.

Do you hear these a lot?  Do you say them a lot?  If so, buy my book on malaphors – He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors available now on Amazon at


2 Comments on “It’s not out of the bag yet”

  1. In addition to all the possible contributing phrases you mention, Dave, I wonder if the speaker also had a cat rolling around in his or her brain? A cat that was not ready to be let out of its bag…

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