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You let the horse out of the cart

This is a nice mashup of “put the cart before the horse” (have things in the wrong order or mixed up) and “let the cat out of the bag” (to reveal a secret or a surprise by accident).  Lots going on in this one.  “Cat” and “cart” are similar looking and sounding so they are definitely culprits in this mental mixup.  Prepositions are often the cause of malaphors, and in this one, “out” and “before” seem to be in play.  The speaker might have conjured up a feed bag for horses when he was thinking bag.  Both phrases involve order, whether putting things in or putting them before something else.  Yes, this is a classic malaphor, perfectly structured and multi-layered.  A bravo to Bob Edwards for burping this one up and Susan Edwards for quickly writing it down and sending it in!

Did you like this one?  Want to see more?  Check out my book “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors” available on Amazon.  You’ll want to read it from front to cover.

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One Comment on “You let the horse out of the cart”

  1. The Idioms says:

    Interesting post. I’ve seen some people using cat instead of cart by mistake.
    Thanks for clarification.
    Freya,UK


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