Jumping through red tape

A couple was watching the Tulsa King and noted a character released from prison griping about the necessary paperwork to acquire a bank account. One commented, “yeah, it’s frustrating jumping through red tape all the time”. This is a nice mix of “jump through hoops” (to complete or face many challenges to achieve something) and “red tape” (bureaucratic rules that are overly strict or tedious).  Both expressions refer to a series of challenges or events, contributing to the confusion.  A big thanks to Patti Palladino for uttering this nice conflation and Skip Kennedy for sending it in!

A safety blanket

A couple was discussing the recent cryptocurrency scams and how people lost large sums of money. One said, “how foolish do you have to be to not have a safety blanket in those situations?” This is a nice congruent conflation of “safety net” and “security blanket”, both referring to something that makes you feel safer and dispels anxiety.

A tip of the hat to Adam Jacob for unintentionally saying this one, recognizing it as a malaphor, and sending it in!

Don’t put all your ducks in a basket

This one was heard on the HGTV show “Househunters”. The husband said to his wife, “Don’t put all your ducks in a basket.” This is an eggselent conflation of “get your ducks in a row” (get well-organized) and “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” (don’t risk everything on one venture).  Idioms containing the words eggs, ducks, or baskets seem to get commonly scrambled.  Type any one of these words in the search and you will find many postings on the subjects.

A big thanks to Fandango, that malaphor wise quacker, for hearing this one and sending it in!

It might not have seemed like peaches and roses at the beginning

Philadelphia Phillies’ Kyle Schwarber was describing how the Phillies bonded as a team this year: “It might not have seemed like peaches and roses at the beginning…but everyone was confident and we had each other’s backs through the whole thing.”


It’s a nice congruent conflation of “peaches and cream” and “a bed of roses”, both describing an easy, comfortable situation. Yes, I posted this malaphor last year but because this one is so timely (World Series) I thought it only appropriate to post again. https://malaphors.com/2021/03/05/its-all-peaches-and-roses/ A tip of the hat to Linda Bernstein for catching this one! Go Phils!

Breaking outside the box

On the Travel Channel show, “This is Halloween”, a person being interviewed about her Halloween costume said this about her “get up”. She was choosing an outlandish costume and thought it was “breaking outside the box”. This is a congruent conflation of “breaking with tradition” and “thinking outside the box”, both meaning to do something or think in a new or different way.

A big thanks to Mike Kovacs for hearing this timely malaphor.

Hands off to the staff!

In a Facebook post, kudos were given to Middlesex Diner, where the breakfast was good despite being very crowded. The writer then said “hands off to the staff!” This is a congruent conflation of “hats off to (someone)” and “give (one) a big hand”, both meaning to express appreciation to someone for a job well done. Hats off to Dan Tulip for this excellent malaphor. And be sure to visit the Middlesex Diner when traveling through West Middlesex, PA!

It’s a bit of a sore eye for the Democrats

On Morning Joe, Ellise Jordan was talking to a panel of voters about John Fetterman, the Pennsylvania Democratic candidate for the US Senate and his stroke recovery. One voter questioned whether Fetterman would be affected by his auditory processing for 6 months or the rest of his life. He then said it was a bit of a sore eye for the Democrats. This is a mashup of “a black eye” (blemish to one’s reputation) and “a sore spot” (a topic that makes one angry or uncomfortable).

A big thanks to Vicki Ameel-Kovacs for “spotting” this one.

He was able to land some points

On the podcast, “All In with Chris Hayes”, Maya King, a reporter for the New York Times, was talking about the Herschel Walker/Raphael Warnock debate for the US Senate in Georgia. She said this malaphor when talking about how Walker managed to respond effectively to some of the questions. It is a congruent conflation of “land some punches” and “score some points”, both meaning to successfully make points in an argument. You can hear the mashup at the 23:13 mark:


A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one and sending it in. Ears like a hawk, Frank!

He has a chip in his cap

Joey Galloway, a commentator on ESPN, said this at the University of Washington vs. UCLA game during halftime. From the context it appears he was trying to say “feather in his cap”. This is a mashup of “feather in (one’s) cap” (a success or achievement) and “hold all the chips” (have complete control over a matter). A big thank you to Lin Sewell for hearing this one and sharing it.

I hope to hit the ball rolling tomorrow

This one was picked up on a Facebook post. The author was talking about being jet-lagged but hoping to get going the next day:

This is a mashup of “hit the ground running” (to begin something energetically) and “get the ball rolling” (get the process started). Both idioms involve starting something. My guess is that jetlag was still an issue when this was written.

A big thanks to Yvonne Stam, a terrific malaphor hunter, for spotting this one in the social media weeds.