You have to run the whole board

This mashup was uttered by Trump in a rally in Wisconsin a few weeks ago.  He was talking about the 2016 election, and the states he needed to win.  Here is the transcript (around 24 minutes into his speech):
It’s hard for Republicans. You have to run the whole board, because they started off that we’re going to play for New York. With all of the crime in New York, I got to play for New York, because we did well in New York. We did well in New York, but we’re going to play for New York.
This is a congruent conflation of “run the table” and “across-the-board” (winning every game or opportunity).  The former expression comes from the game of pool and the latter is found in horse race betting.  Apparently Trump has used the phrase “run the table” correctly in the past.  See
A big shout out to Frank King for hearing this one on the David Pakman Show.

That hits home like a ton of bricks

Michael Steele, former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland and political pundit, said this one on Nicole Wallace’s show, Deadline: White House.  Mr. Steele was talking about the Jason Blake shooting and his experience as a father talking to his sons about what to do if stopped by police.  This is a congruent conflation of “hits home” and “hit (one) like a ton of bricks”, both expressions meaning to receive information that has a sudden or signifcant impact on one.  A big thank you to Mike Kovacs for hearing this subtle and neatly formed malaphor and sending it in.

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Equal playing field

Former Congresswoman Katie Hill, who resigned after sex scandal involving her ex-husband, uttered this nice subtle malaphor on the MSNBC show “All In” (Ali Velshi was subbing that night).  it is a congruent conflation of “level playing field” and “equal footing”, both meaning to describe a situation where everyone gets the same opportunity.  Interestingly, Equal Playing Field is the name of a non-profit organization for women athletes.
A big thanks once again to Frank King for hearing this one.

They’re going to leave it all on the table; they’re going to put it all on the court.

This is a rare double malaphor spoken by Van Jones on the Anderson Cooper show 360 degrees.  Here is the excerpt from the CNN transcript:

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, I think they’re going to leave it all on the table. They’re going to put it all on the court. Look, I think if you are Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, to sit here — I mean, if you think we feel heartbroken, terrified and just, you know, miserable about what’s going on, imagine how they feel.

The first malaphor, “leave it all on the table”, is a congruent conflation of “leave it all on the field” and “leave nothing on the table”, both meaning to give something 100% or everything you have. The second, “put it all on the court”, is a mashup of “leave it all on the court” (give something 100%) and put it all on the line” (risk everything for something).  Mixing sports idioms with politics is a risky business, and Mr. Jones realized he had uttered a malaphor, but his quick attempt made him step into malaphor doo doo once more.  This unicorn was spotted by Bruce Ryan, and for that he is now elevated into the Malaphor Hall of Fame.  @VanJones68

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The little voice on my shoulder

This one was spoken on the show Paranormal Emergency (Season 1, Episode 9).  Here is the clip:


This is a congruent conflation of “little voice in my head” and “angel on my shoulder”, both describing one’s conscience.  A shout out to Mike Kovacs who heard this one and shared it.

We pulled out all the strings

This was heard on the CBS tv show “The Greatest #AtHome Videos”.  Cedric the Entertainer teamed with Kristen Chenoweth to surprise a group of young performers.  One of the performers uttered this nice malaphor.  You can hear it here:

It is a mashup of “pull out all the stops” (to do someting with maximum effort or ability) and “pull the strings” (to be in control of events or some other people’s actions).  “Pulled on our heart strings” might also be in the mix.  “Pull” is the common denominator here, and “strings” and “stops” are also similar sounding words, adding to the confusion.  A big thanks to Lou Pugliese who heard this one and passed it on.

Broaden the tent

This subtle mixup was uttered on Steve Hilton’s show on Fox by The Mooch, Anthony Scaramucci, when discussing the current demographic base of the Republican Party.

It is a congruent conflation of “broaden the base” and “make a bigger tent”, both meaning a group or movement that encompasses the broadest and most diverse members possible.  A big thanks to Frank King who sent this one in.


I know where the skeletons are buried

This perfectly formed malaphor is found in the foreward to Michael Cohen’s soon to be released tell all book, “Disloyal”.  Here is the context:

“Trump has no true friends. He has lived his entire life avoiding and evading taking responsibility for his actions. He crushed or cheated all who stood in his way, but I know where the skeletons are buried because I was the one who buried them.”

This is a conflation of “know where (all) the bodies are buried” (to know secret or scandalous information about a person or group) and “have skeletons in (one’s) the closet” (to have damaging or incriminating secrets from one’s past).  Both idioms involve secrets and damaging information, and both involve dead bodies, hence the mixup.  This mashup is actually brilliant in that it incorporates damaging information and where to get the damaging information all in one terrific malaphor.

A big thanks to Mike Kovacs, Chief Malaphor Hunter, for spotting this one in plain sight.  Bravo.

The disciples fell on their feet

A pastor was teaching on Psalm 76, noting that when Jesus was transfigured the disciples fell on their feet.  This is a conflation of “fall on (one’s) knees” (to kneel down as a show of respect) and “be swept off (one’s) feet” (to become very enamored with someone).  Both expressions involve admiration or awe of another.  Also the body parts “knees” and “feet” seem to be the source of the confusion here.  Of course, “fall on (one’s) feet” is an expression indicating one who is lucky or successful, and I suppose that is true in the disciples’ case.  However, I believe it is a malaphor given the context.  A big thanks to Steve Grieme who heard this one and passed it on!