In the essence of time

This subtle malaphor is a mix of “in the interest of saving time” (in order to save time) and “time is of the essence” (meeting the deadlines is essential).  Could have been spoken by a dyslexic lawyer.  Thanks to Lin Sewell for sending this one in.

The time is ticking

In the recent confirmation hearings,  Senator John Kerry noted that “the time is ticking” for Syrian President Bashar Assad:

 “History caught up to us. That never happened. And it’s now moot, because he (Assad) has made a set of judgments that are inexcusable, that are reprehensible, and I think is not long for remaining as the head of state in Syria,” the senator said. “I think the time is ticking.”

This is a mash up of “the clock is ticking” and “the time is coming” with maybe the clock on 60 minutes thrown in for good measure.  Thanks to Yvonne for catching this one and passing it on!

He made a split minute decision

This is another word blend malaphor, mixing “split second decision” (immediately) and “at the last minute”  (deciding something at the last opportunity).  As I get older, I seem to be making more of these kinds of decisions.

No time to waste like the present

Perhaps this is a motto of our time.  This beauty is a blend of  “no time like the present” (do it now) and “no time to waste” or “waste no time” (let’s get on with it.).   As my ol’ pal observes, the malaphor is quite accurate as the only time we can waste is in the present.  It also reminds me of the infamous Dan Quayle quote, “What a waste it is to lose one’s mind” (he was trying for “A mind is a terrible thing to waste”).

Starting from ground one

Wonderful mash up of “ground zero” (starting point or central point) and “from square one” (at the beginning or starting point).  Both idioms have similar meanings and zero and one are numbers so probably the reasons for the confusion.

Rome wasn’t burned in a day

A terrific mash-up of “Rome wasn’t built in a day” (involved projects take time) and “Nero fiddled while Rome burned”.   The book, “Is Paris Burning?” also could have been on the speaker’s mind, as well as “don’t burn your bridges”.

He who laughs first, laughs last

Really?  But yes, it is true as I heard this gem from “the master’s” lips many years ago.  I think it is a mix up of  “gets the last laugh” and “he who laughs first, laughs longest”, both meaning to exact revenge on someone.  In context revenge was what “the master” was talking about, but perhaps in a subtle way he was waxing philosophically regarding the meaning of life.  Enjoy it thoroughly all the time?

We missed our door of opportunity

At first blush, this one sounds right, but on further inspection, the speaker has apparently blended “window of opportunity” with “when one door closes, another door opens” (or maybe “open door policy”?).  The resulting malaphor certainly makes sense as a window and a door are both openings and both idioms convey similar meanings.    Less verbiage is always a good thing (you can quote me on that).

Spur of the minute

I heard this from “the master” several times.  He was never one to do things spontaneously, so I thought this malaphor expressed his actual feelings.  This classic mixes “spur of the moment” with “in a minute”, implying perhaps a bit of hesitancy to a potential spontaneous action?

I was lost from the word start

I heard this one from a good friend and it sounded slightly wrong and yet it fit in context with the subject matter.  The best malaphors are the ones just slightly off kilter.  They also are difficult to remember as they blend into the lexicon landscape so effortlessly.  This subtle malaphor is a mix up of “from the word go” and “from the start”.