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Do you think I would paint myself in a corner and throw away the key?

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!

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We aren’t going to throw in the white flag

Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

Commenting on the Lakers’ ability to play in the series when so many
players were injured, Los Angeles Laker Dwight Howard remarked that the players were
not about “to throw in the white flag.”  Thanks to “My ol’ pal” who heard this gem on the 5:00 pm local L.A. news.  It is a mash up of “throw in the towel” and “wave the white flag”, both meaning to surrender.  Perhaps a white towel (a common sight with athletes) was also in the confusion.


Throw it under the rug

This mixed idiom was heard on NPR this morning in a story about the Catholic Church.   This is a mixture of “sweep it under the rug (or carpet)” (hide or ignore something) and “throw him under the bus” (sacrifice someone for personal gain).   It is similar to the 12/23/12 malaphor posting “brush it under the rug”.   The confusion seems to lie in action words such as sweep, brush, and throw.  Of course, many of us have thrown a few items under the rug when company came unannounced.  Thanks Lauren for sending in this gem!


He really threw a monkey wrench into that fire

My dear friend Cindy W.  said when she said this one, everyone looked at her like she had “four heads”.  This terrific malaphor thus is a 4 head winner.  It is a mash up of “throw a monkey wrench in (something)” (to cause something to fail) and “throw gas (or fuel) on the fire” or “out of the frying pan into the fire” (both meaning make a bad situation worse),  or even “several irons in the fire” (a number of possibilities).

English: Line art drawing of a monkey wrench.

English: Line art drawing of a monkey wrench. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: vervet monkey in the Kruger NP

English: vervet monkey in the Kruger NP (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


They threw a bullet in their foot

This tortured malaphor was spoken by Tunch Ilkin on Steelers radio yesterday during the Steelers/Browns football game.   Tunch is a wonderful commentator and ex-Steeler, and is known for his colorful language describing Steelers games.   This time he seemed to have several thoughts buzzing through his head, as he wanted to say, that the Steelers had “shot themselves in the foot” (do something that causes problems for yourself), given that a seventh turnover had just been committed.  Perhaps the shooting idea conjured up bullets and the phrase “dodge a bullet” (evaded something) or “took a bullet” (sacrificed), both meaning the opposite of what he wanted to say.   The “threw” part of the phrase was the errant pass by the quarterback, resulting in an interception.

Sports media is a treasure trove of malaphors, many of which have been repeated on this website.   A big thank you to my wife for hearing this gem on her way home from Costco!