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That train has sailed

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.
Vanessa?
Vanessa? Hello?

A big thanks to Sam Edelmann for hearing this one.  Oh behave!

 

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It was like pulling blood out of a stone

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.


They gave us an opportunity to learn by fire

The (un)Civil Professor of Malaphors, Martin Pietrucha, strikes again with this beauty overheard at a conference.  It is a perfect mash up of “learn by example” (educated by watching someone or something) and “baptism by fire” (a first experience of something, usually difficult).  “Under fire” (criticized) might also be in the mix, although I think the shared word here is “by”.


I’m not going to carry your wagon anymore

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.


I’m going to pull his button

Push or pull?  It’s a choice we make everyday.   In this case, the speaker made the wrong choice but a great malaphor.  It is a mash up of “pushing his button” (to do the exact thing to make someone act the way you want) and “pulling his leg” (to fool or trick someone).  A big thanks to Jack de Golia for sending this one in!


I dropped the boat on that one

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 was pounding the bushes

This is a wonderful congruent conflation of “beating the bushes” and “pounding the pavement”, both meaning to try very hard to achieve something.  As the speaker said, “you’d think the alliteration would help me keep them straight”.  I was actually pounding my bushes this weekend trying to dislodge all the leaves that had dropped on them.  A big thanks to Peter from the blog “Our Mechanical Brain” for producing this great malaphor and passing it on!  Check his blog out at Our Mechanical Brain