I’ll have him shitting in my hand

This one breaks one of my malaphor rules but I had to post it anyway. As followers know, a malaphor should be unintentionally spoken or written; made up ones don’t count as they are not really word “errors”, plus they are just not usually funny. However, this one, that comes from the HBO show Barry, is perfectly formed and too good to pass up. In Season 2, Episode 3, Barry’s former controller, Monroe Fuches, is wearing a wire and practicing a conversation he will have with Barry to get him to talk. Police express doubts and Monroe says”give me five minutes with him. I’ll have him shitting in my hand”. This is a mashup of “eating out of (one’s) hand” (to be completely accepting of whatever one says or requires) and “shitting bricks” (extremely nervous). Fuches is of course nervous about the whole affair but thinks he will get Barry to talk. A big thanks to Jonathan Eliot for hearing this one and sending it in!

I’m looking to open my horizons

This is a subtle congruent conflation of “open (one’s) mind” and “broaden/expand (one’s) horizon”, both meaning to become receptive to or to consider something, such as a new topic. A big thanks to Kevin Hatfield for his keen ears in hearing this one and passing it on.

Leave it out to dry

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-D) was talking about the new major spending bills in Congress on the Rachel Maddow show (9/30/21). She said that what she is afraid of is that the infrastructure bill will be voted on and then Congress will leave the Build Back America bill out to dry. You can hear this around minute 37:


This is a mashup of “hang (one) out to dry” (abandon someone) and “leave (one) high and dry” (leave someone in a difficult situation which you are unable to do anything about). Both idioms have the word “dry” in them and both describe abandonment. A big thanks to Frank King who heard this one and passed it on.

Grease the pockets

Richard Ojeda, a guest on the show, Real Time with Bill Maher (9/24/21), was on a panel discussing the national debt and U.S. tax laws and said this:

“The problem is that the filthy, filthy rich in this country can pay for lobbyists to grease the pockets of our legislators to make sure that they’re protected while the rest of the people—and the working class people—have everything stuck on their friggin’ shoulders.”

This is a congruent conflation of “line (one’s) pockets” and “grease (someone’s) palm”, both referring to making money in a dishonest or greedy fashion. Reminds me of another malaphor, “He’s feathering his own pockets”. https://malaphors.com/2012/09/02/hes-feathering-his-own-pockets/ A shout out to Mike Kovacs for hearing this one and sending it in!

He cut me a favor

In season 2, episode 3 of The Sopranos, Tony Soprano’s teenage daughter, Meadow, has a party that gets out of control and requires police intervention. Tony gets her out of trouble with the police and says to her as they’re driving home: “Just lucky I knew that cop, so he cut me a favor.” This is a congruent conflation of “cut (one) a break” and “did (one) a favor”, both meaning to do something that makes a situation easier for someone else. My guess is that Tony was thinking of literally cutting up someone. Not sure, but The Sopranos is a treasure trove of malaphors. I devoted a whole section to them in my book, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”. Some of the best are “We’re in a f**king stagmire”, “keep your eyes on the tiger”, and my favorite, “we have a few dark sheep in the family”. https://malaphors.com/2013/07/02/we-have-a-few-dark-sheep-in-the-family/

Props to Barry Eigen for hearing this one and sending it in. I will add it to the Sopranos section!. Barry also noted that the syntax of this malaphor reminded him when hewas kid growing up in NYC. He would call up to his mother (on the 4th floor of an apartment building): “Throw me out the window a ball.” No defenestration there of course.

Let’s peek behind the hood

Rachel Maddow last night was talking about the Republican efforts to “audit” the 2020 election in some states. She revealed there is dark money supporting these efforts. At 9:44 pm EST (9/14/21 show) she said:

“And while we`re at it let`s peek behind the hood of this document, look at the metadata for this PDF, this letter and this sort of bogus letterhead on the top demanding the preservation of records by the county clerks.”


This is a congruent conflation of “peek behind the curtain” and “look under the hood”, both meaning to investigate or examine more closely. A big thank you to Frank King who heard this one and sent it in.

She is getting under my craw

The speaker was talking about a friend who occasionally irritates her. This is a nice mashup of “getting under my skin” (becoming a source of irritation) and “sticking in my craw” (to cause considerable resentment, rankle). Both phrases involve something or someone causing anger in another.

So what’s a craw?

A craw is the crop of a bird or insect, the transferred sense of the word to refer to a person’s gullet (Free Dictionary). A tip of the hat to Paula Garrety for hearing this one.

This should quench your curiosity

The source for this one is a website called Quora, and a posting about Paul McCartney’s brother. The exact quote is: “I’m sure I have others but this should quench your curiosity.” (The reference to “others” is to pictures of Paul and his brother.) This is a mashup of “quench your thirst” (to stop feeling thirsty) and “satisfy your curiosity” (enough of what you need to be contented). When you are “quenched” you are certainly “satisfied”, which probably created the mixup. Maybe one’s curiosity is quenched after one’s thirst of knowledge dries up. Here is the link to the malaphor:  https://www.quora.com/Who-is-Paul-McCartney-s-brother-and-what-does-he-look-like A big thanks to Barry Eigen for spotting this one and sending it in. I will add it to the “quench” malaphor library, that also includes “quench that itch!” https://malaphors.com/2018/04/21/quench-that-itch/

This is what we are dealing against

In a PBS Newshour story (August 31) about the effect of Hurricane Ida in Louisiana, Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee-Sheng was talking about the difficulties of residents just getting basic services, and uttered this congruent conflation of “dealing with” and “up against”, both referring to facing difficult challenges or problems. A shout out to Paula Garrety for hearing this one and sending it in. Our thoughts are with all of those folks in Louisiana.

When you begin to pull back the onion

This was noticed on a post entitled “Beauty and the Beast”, on the facebook music page, Robify Music: “When you begin to pull back the Neil Young onion”. This is a congruent conflation of “peel the onion” and “pull back the curtain”, both meaning to reveal or expose something. “Pull” and “peel” are similar sounding words and probably contributed to the mixup. A big thanks to Ron MacDonald for spotting this one and revealing it to all. Also a shout out to Robify Music, a fun facebook page on the music scene. https://www.facebook.com/Robifymusic/