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You need to pull the cord

I unintentionally blurted this one out to someone who was thinking of getting rid of his cable service.  It is a mash up of “pull the plug” (to force something to end) and “cut the cord” (discontinue cable service).  Both expressions involve discontinuing something, hence the mix up.  This one also comes free with a public service message:  always pull the plug, not the cord!  Now do you see how useful and helpful this website is?

 

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Joe Biden needs to get out and shake the flesh

This one conjures up a scary/humorous image.  Former House Rep Joe Crowley (D-NY) (who was unseated by AOC) said this beaut on MSNBC today.  He was asked if he had any advice for the Biden campaign and this was his answer.  It is a congruent conflation of “press the flesh” and “shake hands and kiss babies”, both meaning to go out and meet as many people as possible.  Mike Kovacs, Chief Operating Officer for Malaphor Central, heard this one and sent it in immediately.  Mike noted that there are several cheap jokes embedded in this malaphor.  Crowley lost to AOC, who as many will remember shook the flesh in a great dance video.  Also, Mike queried whether Biden at his age could shake the flesh considering the loss of elasticity, but I believe that actually works to Joe’s advantage.


Word of the week: malaphor

The Compartments

A few weeks ago Susie Dent, in her Origin of Words slot on the Channel 4 show “Countdown”, featured the word “malaphor”. It’s a cross between a malapropism and a metaphor, or series of metaphors. Malapropism is a word that I have been aware of since the age of 12 and, unlike zeugma or synecdoche, has always come to mind when needed. I have known, for decades now, that it’s named after the character Mrs Malaprop from Sheridan’s play “The Rivals” (even though I have never seen it), but I needed this definition from the Oxford dictionaries website to confirm that the play was written in 1775. A malapropism is described in that definition as the “mistaken use of a word in place of a similar-sounding one, often with an amusing effect (e.g. ‘dance a flamingo’ instead of flamenco)”.

Malaphors do a similar thing, with metaphors instead of…

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Baseball trades are like flipping the dice

This is a perfect malaphor, compliments from the sports world.  Jack Zduriencik uttered this one on the Pittsburgh Pirates pre-game show on 93.7 The Fan.  It is a congruent conflation of “flipping a coin” and “rolling the dice”, both meaning to rely on chance or purely at random.  Coins and dice are both used in games of chance, such as craps.  Of course if you flip the dice in a craps game, chances are you’ll be ejected.  A big thanks to John Kooser for hearing this gem.


Pelosi has all these Chairs on a tight rope

This one was found on the website The Daily Kos.  The writer was discussing how Nancy Pelosi controls the various House Subcommittees.  This is a nice blend of “walking a tightrope” (to do something with extreme care and precision) and “on a tight leash” (under someone’s strict control).  Both phrases have the word “tight” in them and “ropes” and “leashes” are similar items.  Also, both phrases entail exactness and control.  Here is the link to the malaphor:  https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/6/5/1862845/-NY-Offers-Chairman-Neal-Trump-s-Tax-Returns-Neal-Says-No-Thanks-Unbelievable

A tip of the hat to Barry Eigen who spotted this hidden creature in the word forest.


I was double-stabbed

The speaker was talking about someone at work who had requested something and then was later penalized for the exact thing.  It is a nice congruent conflation of “stabbed in the back” and “double-crossed”, both meaning to be betrayed.  A big thanks to Jamie for sharing this one, and who immediately recognized it was a malaphor!  Glad you shared it immediately, Jamie, as they quickly recede from the memory banks for some reason.


I was surprised he fell south so fast

Another from sports talk radio.  A sports columnist, Ron Cook, was commenting on Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Joe Musgrove’s recent poor outings and did not expect them after his excellent start of the season.  It is a congruent conflation of “fall apart” and “go south”, both meaning to depreciate or drop in value.  If you fall south then does that mean you rise north?  A big thanks to John Kooser who heard this one and passed it on.