This is a congruent conflation of “that ship has sailed” and “that train has left the station”, both meaning the act has already been done. It was said by Austin Powers in the movie Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery, when he was speaking to a drunk Vanessa:
She was very groovy.
Your dad loved her very much.
If there was one other cat in this world that could have loved her and treated her as well as your dad then it was me.
But unfortunately for yours truly that train has sailed.
A big thanks to Sam Edelmann for hearing this one. Oh behave!
This brilliant little gem was uttered accidentally by my neighbor and friend, Char Stone. It is a nice congruent conflation of “cough it up” and “hand it over”, both meaning to produce or present something. Both phrases have three words, share the word “it”, and contain direction words. Also, one generally puts a hand over a cough to prevent germs from spreading, perhaps adding to the confusion. It’s also a nice phrase to use when watching a cat attempt to cough up a hairball. Thanks Char for this one!
I had to post this one right away, as it comes on the heels of Lara Hayhurst Compton’s “better safe than never”, which we both agree should be Planned Parenthood’s new slogan. “A tough nut to follow” was spoken by Tim Hughes, a talented actor who is currently playing the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz at the Fulton Theater in Lancaster, PA. This malaphor is a mash up of “tough act to follow” (outstanding performance) and “tough nut to crack” (difficult person or problem to deal with). Tough is the operative word here, which my guess led to the malaphor. Of course, Tim might have been referring to a difficult person who gave a great performance! This one is also similar to “tough nut to swallow” see – https://malaphors.com/2013/02/20/that-would-be-a-tough-nut-to-swallow/ A big thank you to Lara Hayhurst Compton for hearing this one and passing it on!
This gem was said in reaction to helping a family friend, and the speaker wanted to be as spontaneous as possible. It is a blend of two phrases, “shoot from the hip”, and “a gut reaction”, both relating to doing or saying something quickly, or immediately responding. Of course, shooting from the gut also occurs after too much partying. A big thank you to Nate Brogin for uttering this one and passing it on!
This is a perfect congruent conflation. It mixes “getting blood out of (or from) a stone” and “like pulling teeth”, both phrases meaning to do something with great difficulty. The speaker was finding a particular essay difficult to write and remarked that writing it was like pulling blood out of a stone. A big thanks to Red C. for sending this one in from the U.K.
This is not a mix or conflation but rather a combination of two idioms, resulting in a very good malaphor. The speaker states that she has a habit of mixing expressions and her husband calls her the Norm Crosby of malapropisms. Actually this one is a malaphor and not a malaprop, so perhaps she is the Norma Crosby of Malaphors? In any event, she said this one to her husband when he was questioning her decision on a particular case. She said, “How stupid do you think I am? Do you think I would paint myself in a corner and throw the key away?” That ended the argument because he was laughing so hard. The malaphor is a combination of “paint oneself in a corner” (get into a difficulty from which one can’t extricate oneself) and “lock someone up door and throw away the key” (incarcerate indefinitely). Thanks to MaryKathryn for unintentionally uttering this one and sending it in!
The first malaphor of 2015, a speaker replaced the word weight with wagon and unintentionally created this mix of “carry your own weight” (do your share) and “fix your wagon” (to punish or get even with someone). Both phrases include words the begin with W, probably contributing to the confusion. Could “hitch your wagon to a star” (aspiring to do great things) be in the mix as well? Thanks to John Costello for sending this one in.
This is a terrific congruent conflation of “missed the boat” and “dropped the ball”, both meaning to have made an error or mistake. Maybe the speaker was experiencing an earworm of that 1974 song “Rock the Boat” by the one hit wonder group Hues Corporation. In any event, this double whammy can be used to describe the mother of all mistakes. A big thanks to Marcia Riefer Johnston who sent this one in and is a new malaphor follower. By the way, she has a great website, http://writing.rocks. Check it out!
I heard this gem on this morning’s Meet the Press. Helene Cooper, a New York Times correspondent, was discussing President Obama’s proactive week, including his executive authority to issue an executive order regarding immigration. I believe she was wanting to say “swinging for the fences”, meaning to try and accomplish bold ideas, but mixed it with “shooting for (something)” meaning to aim for.