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The investigation has really hit the rails

This mix up, concerning the investigation of Russia’s involvement in the US presidential election, was heard on NPR.  It’s a mashup of “off the rails” (in a state of disorder or chaos) and “hit the fan” (become a scandal).  Not sure which idiom the speaker intended, as both could fit in context.  Perhaps the speaker had a mental image of the hobo catching a ride on a train and “hitting the rails”.  A tip of the toque to JoErin Mahokey for hearing this one and passing it on!

P.S.  Yvonne Stam, frequent contributor, added this additional explanation: “I would offer ‘hit the wall’ (reach a point of exhaustion) and ‘hit a wall’ (unable to make further progress) as well.”  Agreed!  Thanks Yvonne!

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4 Comments on “The investigation has really hit the rails”

  1. TAHardiman says:

    Maybe they intended to conger the image of being hit while laying on the rails or possibly falling off these rails and being hit by the training heading in the other direction. In both cases the result could be disbursed by the fan ….. All of which could be the result of a derailed investigation.

  2. Yvonne Shipley says:

    I would offer ‘hit the wall’ (reach a point of exhaustion) and ‘hit a wall’ (unable to make further progress) as well.

  3. Lexi Ryedale says:

    Along the lines of “hit the wall” there’s also “hit the buffers”, as in “come to an abrupt halt.”
    I suspect hitting the buffers may have the side-effect of making something come off the rails if done at speed…


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