This was spoken by Ian, a longtime malaphor follower. He said this to his wife regarding the use of acronyms at their respective jobs, and how she knows more of the lingo in his field (biological sciences) than he does of hers (clinical psychology) owing to her background. It is a nice mash up of “leg up” (an advantage) and “a foot in the door” (first step in a process). The anatomical mix up is evident, as it is in many malaphors. Thanks to Ian for sharing this one!
Not a pleasant visual. I think this is a mash up of “from under one’s nose” (in plain view) and “took the words out of my mouth” (to say something just before someone else was going to say the same thing). “My Ol’ Pal” suggests “pay through the nose” might be in the mix as well. A shout out to Ian who heard this one from his wife at lunch the other day.
This excellent malaphor was heard at a garden club. The context was a story about the founding of a garden at the U.S. National Arboretum. The designers were told at the last minute that they needed to make a major change to one of the parts of the garden, so they “pooled our heads together” to quickly come up with an alternative. Many thanks to Barry Eigen for hearing this one and sending it in. Barry notes this is a mash up of “pooled our ideas/resources” (group individual ideas or money), “pull together (as a team)” (cooperate, work well together), and perhaps, by sound, “pulled our thoughts (or ideas) together”. This latter suggestion is intriguing to me, as the sound “pull” and “pool” are indistinguishable here in Western Pennsylvania, resulting in a homonym (the same is true of “hill” and “heel”, as in the classic classified ad, “high hills for sale”). Perhaps the speaker hailed from Pittsburgh?
This is a mash up of “get your act/shit together” (get organized) and “get off your ass” (stop loafing and get to work). Both idioms direct someone to get moving, invoking a congruent conflation. Also ass and act are three letter words that have a similar sound. Finally, the lower half of the body is at work here in both phrases. Many thanks to Robyn Pietrucha for blurting this one out and passing it along!
In context, this seems to be a mash up of “(to know something) like the back of my hand” (to know a place very well) and “neck of the woods” (a region or locale in the country). The speaker was going to a party north of the city. When someone asked him if he knew how to get where it was being held, he said “Well, I know that area like the back of my neck”. Interesting thing is that he had never been in the area, but he had GPS. Of course, he might have been thinking that it was a “pain in the neck” to visit an area unfamiliar to him, or that neck and back are similar looking and sounding words, but who knows what lurks in the mind? Body parts, particularly the hands, are for some reason the source of many malaphors. I have posted several, including “I don’t know it off the top of my hand”, “I have it on the tip of my hand”, and the ever popular “we’ve got our hands cut out for us”. A big thanks to Joseph Newcomer for sending this one in!
This was overheard recently at a court proceeding. The speaker was stating that something was easy for her client. I believe it is a congruent conflation of “nothing to it”, and “no skin off his teeth (or nose)”, both meaning something that is not difficult. Anyone see another idiom in this malaphor? Certainly it can’t be said after eating a spinach pizza. A big thanks to Sam Edelmann for sending this one in.
Let’s hope not. The speaker was referring to her Mom bugging her about something, and was uttered by the Mistress of Malaphors, Naomi David. It is a congruent conflation of “breathing down my neck” and “up my butt”, both expressions meaning to be closely watching or monitoring someone. Again, mixing body parts and directions often produce malaphors.
Ike Taylor, a cornerback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, was overheard saying:
“With a future Hall of Fame quarterback like Drew Brees, man, you have to be on your P’s and Q’s. He’s the captain of that team and it showed today. If he sees something, he’s going to hit it. He doesn’t miss a lot. Regardless of how much you feel like you’ve got him rattled, he stays in the pocket. He did what he needed to do today.”
This is an excellent malaphor, mixing “on your toes” (stay alert) and “mind your P’s and Q’s” (pay careful attention to one’s behavior). A big thank you to me for reading this in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
This wonderful malaphor comes from Matt Deppe, first time contributor to the site. Last week a friend was trying to explain to him why he and his house mate get along so well. “I guess it works so well because we don’t step on each others’ feathers”. This is a mash up of “step on someone’s toes” (to insult or offend someone) and “ruffle someone’s feathers” (to annoy or irritate someone).
This subtle, perfectly formed malaphor is a mash up of “right under my nose” and “right before my eyes”, both meaning something obvious and not hidden. This congruent conflation might also seem obviously correct but on reflection it is indeed a malaphor. It is another example of mixed up idioms involving body parts, particularly on the head for some reason. Another big thanks to the Midwest Regional Senior Malaphor Hunter, Mike Kovacs.