I’m biting my words

Precisely.  That’s what we all do when we utter malaphors.  This one is a mash up of “eating my words”  (admission that what you said was wrong) and “biting my tongue” (stop yourself from speaking).  The speaker, Kevin Hatfield, was attempting to say eating my words but perhaps felt he bit off more than he could chew.  Biting and eating are part of the confusion, both actions by the mouth.  “My” is also shared, adding to the mix up.   Thanks to Kevin Hatfield for blurting this one out!

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I had to bite my teeth

This common malaphor (check the hits on google!) is used when someone is wanting to say “I had to bite my tongue” (struggling to not say something you really want to say). My guess is that the speaker is also thinking of “I showed my teeth” (displaying anger) or possibly “sink your teeth into” (become deeply involved).  The latter is probably more likely as the words bite and sink are four letter words and are active verbs.  Also, the tongue and teeth are near each other and so this adds to the confusion.  Finally, teeth bite and tongues don’t so the mind might be trying to correct itself?

Teeth of a model.

Teeth of a model. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Another bite at the cherry

This malaphor was heard last night by Mike Browning while listening to a Washington Wizards basketball game.  The play by play announcer, Dave Johnson, said this: “… Crawford grabs the rebound, and the Wizards get another bite at the cherry.”  Given the context, this is a mash up of “another bite at the apple” and “cherry-picking”, the latter a term used in basketball.   “A bite of the cherry” is apparently an Australian and British expression meaning “being a part of something good”, but I don’t think Dave Johnson is Australian or British.