In the 6/21/22 edition of the New York Times, a woman was being asked her opinion about whether we are paying enough attention to the issue of race. She said “I don’t think we’re paying too much attention. I think it’s always been pushed under the rug.” This is a congruent conflation of “pushed aside” and “swept/brushed under the rug/carpet”, both meaning to ignore or disregard something.
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/06/21/opinion/focus-group-biden-moderates.html. It turns out that one of the candidates for senator in Georgia has also said it: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/herschel_walker_266259. And a “real housewife of New Jersey”: https://www.realitytea.com/2022/06/06/margaret-josephs-push-under-rug/. “Push” and “brush” sound and look alike, possibly creating the malaphor.
A big thanks to Barry Eigen for spotting this one and sending it in (instead of pushing it under the rug).
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger testified yesterday (June 21, 2022) before the January 6 Congressional Committee regarding Trump’s attempts at overturning the 2020 election. Raffensperger recounted how the state of Georgia looked into every allegation that was made by Trump and his team:
Raffensperger said the state had conducted nearly 300 investigations into the allegations and found nothing wrong. “Every single allegation we checked. We ran down the rabbit trail to make sure our numbers were accurate,” he said.https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-congress-jan-6-committee-zero-pressure-over-georgia-election-results-2022-06-21/
This is a triple conflation of “run down” (to track down someone or something), “go down the rabbit hole” (to begin a process or journey that is strange or complicated) and “follow the paper trail” (examine the physical documentation of a person’s activities). Given the wild and false allegations by Trump, Giuliani, and others, the speaker may have been thinking of Alice in Wonderland when he uttered this nice malaphor.
A tip of the hat to Jim Kozlowski for hearing this one and sending it in!
Kylie Atwood from CNN said this on The Lead with Jake Tapper, June 7. She was talking about the State Department looking into unreported foreign gifts to Trump. Here is the transcript:
This is a congruent conflation of “connect the dots” and “fill in the blanks”, both meaning to understand something by providing information. While I posted this one previously (said by Doris Kearns Goodwin on the Rachel Maddow Show – https://malaphors.com/2022/01/15/if-they-can-fill-in-the-dots/), it’s such a perfect mashup I thought it was worth a second time.
A big thanks to Jim Kozlowski for hearing this one and sending it in! Koz has the ears of a hawk.
In an interview with Reuters regarding inflation and interest rates, UBS strategist Rohan Khanna said the following:
UBS strategist Rohan Khanna said hawkish ECB communication alongside the inflation print “have completely shattered this idea that the Fed may not deliver 75 bps or that other central banks will move in a gradual pace”.
“The whole idea went out the drain…”that’s when you get turbo-charged flattening of yield curves. It is just a realisation that peak inflation in the U.S. is not behind us, and unless we are told so, maybe peak hawkishness from the Fed is also not behind us,” Khanna added.
This is a congruent conflation of “down the drain” and “out the window”, both referring to something disregarded or gone. A tip of the hat to Steve Hubbard for spotting this one and sending it in.
This one was heard on the local weather on Baltimore’s WMAR Channel 2 (June 14, 2022, 7:57 AM to be exact). The newscaster mixed “a rumble of thunder” and “a crack of lightning”. Crack is the sound of lightning as it tears through the air and is close, while thunder is a rumbling sound heard farther from the lightning source. Or so I am told. Anyway, a big thanks to Fred Martin for hearing this one and sending it in!
Former New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton says you’re a ‘fool’ if you think there are 32 NFL QBs better than him: “‘The statistics are in the pudding”.
This is a conflation of “proof is in the pudding” (the final results of something are the only way to judge its quality or veracity) and “statistics/the numbers don’t lie” (the numerical data related to something shows the truth of a situation). Both idioms refer to describing the veracity of something.
A big thank you to Joe Welch and Jim Kozlowski for both sending this one in within hours of each other. There are many malaphor hunters out there!
There was a discussion on Facebook about why divorce used to be uncommon. A poster said, “With religion breathing down your shoulder, you also weren’t allowed to give up.” This is a nice congruent conflation of “breathing down (one’s) neck” and “looking over (one’s) shoulder”, both referring to someone monitoring another very closely. The neck and shoulder are in close proximity, and so the mental image may have created the confusion.
Malaphors involving the word “shoulder” seem to be very common, probably because there are so many idioms with the word “shoulder” in them. Some of the best shoulder malaphors posted on the website include “she wears her heart on her shoulder”, “I finally got the monkey off my shoulder”, and “he threw a cold shoulder on that idea”. https://malaphors.com/2012/09/05/he-threw-a-cold-shoulder-on-the-idea/. Check out the website and type the word “shoulder” in the search block.
A big thank you to Yvonne Stam for spotting this one and sending it in.
In Episode 3, Season 1 of “The Boys” (an Amazon Prime series), there is a scene with some guys pitching a public relations idea with a litany of “does she do this or does she do that?” items, one of which is “does she cry in her milk?” This is a mashup of “cry in (one’s) beer” (feel sorry for oneself) and “cry over spilt milk” (upset over something that can’t be fixed). “Cry” is the common denominator here, with a mix of beverages. A big thanks to Barry Eigen for hearing this one and sending it in. While it was in a show, it did not appear to be intentional and therefore a bonafide malaphor (plus it’s just good).
A therapist was working with a person on stress management, and this is how the client described his stress. This is a mashup of “the 800 pound gorilla” (a person or group so powerful that it does not need to heed the rules or threats by others) and “get (something) off (one’s) chest” (to unburden oneself). While neither idiom relates to the subject matter (a double incongruent conflation?), it appears the speaker was conflating the two phrases. A big thanks to patrickwardphd for hearing this one and sending it in!
From Barbara Tuchman’s 1972 Pulitzer Prize winning Stilwell and the American Experience in China: 1911-1945, Chapter 20, “We Ought to Get Out – Now”
Referring to Patrick J. Hurley, US Ambassador to China (1944-1945),
“Starting with breezy overconfidence, he was soon, for all his native shrewdness, over his depth.”
This is a congruent conflation of “over his head” and “out of his depth”, both meaning to be in a field or situation that exceeds one’s knowledge or ability. “Over” and “out” are confused in this one. Props to Martin Pietrucha who is never over his depth when it comes to finding malaphors.