This one comes from the Daily Caller. It is a mashup of “foaming at the mouth” (extremely angry) and “groveling in (something)” (to interact with someone in an overtly agreeable manner). So did the writer mean that the Party was angry or overtly agreeable? My guess it was the former. As an aside, this is also another example of using the word “literally” incorrectly. If it’s literal, then it happens. A big thanks to Ralph Aikman for spotting this one.
James Joseph, senior FEMA administrator, on CNN, told people in Florida not to ignore warnings and think themselves safe from the effects of the oncoming hurricane Dorian. It’s a congruent conflation of “out of the woods” and “in the clear”, both meaning to be free of danger. Perhaps the speaker was thinking of a clearing in the woods. “Out of danger”, also meaning to be free of danger, might also be in the mix. A big thanks to “my ol’ pal” Beatrice Zablocki for hearing this one.
The speaker was nervously anticipating something. This is a three-fer mashup I think. “Champing at the bit” and “biting my nails” both meaning to anxiously await something, are clearly in the mix, and also “bites the dust” (to die) is in there. Perhaps the anticipation was so exciting that she thought she was going to die? In any event, a big thanks to Katie Mroczek for uttering this one and sending it on, with the help of Anthony Kovacs.
The speaker and his co-worker were talking about a situation that they didn’t need to talk about anymore. In order to signal it was time to wrap things up the speaker said “Let’s put this horse to bed.” This is a nice congruent conflation of “put (something) to bed” and “put a horse out to pasture”, meaning to finish or retire something. Perhaps the speaker dredged up in his mind the Godfather scene with the horse head in bed. That certainly finalized things. A big thanks to Joel for actually unintentionally uttering this one and sending it in.
That’s right, a malaphor two-fer, from the lips of Jennifer Rubin, heard on MSNBC the other night. Here is what she said:
On Republicans, “how many points will the Dow have to drop to …get them off the stick?” This is a nice congruent conflation of “get on the stick” and “get off the dime”, both meaning to organize oneself and start preparing for something.
On Trump’s opponents, “he’s always thrived on chaos, …he thinks it puts his opponents on their back heel.” This is a mashup of “back on his heels” (to put into a state of unease or surprise) and “flat on (one’s) back” (lacking the strength to get up).
A big, big thanks to Frank King for hearing these gems and passing them on!
This one was uttered by Joe Starkey, a local sports radio commentator. It is a mashup of “smokes like a chimney” (smokes continually) and “needle in a haystack” (something that is very difficult to locate). My guess is that the speaker was thinking of “smokestack” and “haystack” bubbled to the surface. Also, haystacks give off a lot of smoke when burned. This one reminds me of the title of my malaphor book, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available on Amazon for a mere $7.99! A big thanks to John Kooser for hearing this one.
This one was uttered by an evangelical Trump supporter. It is a congruent conflation of “a nest of vipers” and “a den of thieves”, both meaning a group of individuals suspected of underhanded dealings. “Den of iniquity” (a lot of immoral things happen there) might be in the mix, but I doubt it. “Waliking into the lions’ den” (place yourself in a dangerous situation) certainly is in play given the context and its Biblical roots. Here is the article where the malaphor is found: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/08/14/evangelicals-view-trump-their-protector-will-they-stand-by-him/?wpisrc=nl_rainbow&wpmm=1
A big thanks to Barry Eigen for spotting this one!