The speech played a factor

This is a very subtle mashup.  Rachel Maddow (again) was referring to Dean Acheson’s speech and said it might have “played a factor” in leading to the Korean War.  This is a congruent conflation of “played a role (or part)”  and “is a factor in (or factored in)”, both meaning to have a specific involvement or participation in something.  Based on google hits, this is a very common malaphor.  Thanks again to Frank King for hearing this one and dropping me a line.

Talk shows (particularly political talk shows) are full of malaphors.  You can read more of them in my book, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available on Amazon.  Makes a great addition to any bathroom library!


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