There will be hiccups in the road

Surgeon General Jerome Adams, in an NPR interview (All Things Considered), was talking about the COVID vaccine rollout and uttered this nice malaphor. It is a congruent conflation of “hiccups” and “bumps in the road”, both describing relatively minor setbacks or obstacles. You can read his interview here:

https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/12/03/942345145/u-s-surgeon-general-on-state-of-the-pandemic

Perhaps a hiccup in the road is a little more problematic than a bump, or vice versa? Kudos to Jim Kozlowski for hearing this one and sharing it with us.

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This is uncharted ground

Laura Tucker, social worker in Hillsborough County, Florida, was talking on 60 Minutes about the difficulties looking for children in the age of a pandemic. This is a mashup of “uncharted waters/territory” (a situation which is unfamiliar and as a result might be dangerous) and “breaking new ground” (to begin to do something that no one else has done). You can hear the malaphor at about 21 minutes:
https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/60-minutes/id81210923?i=1000499856285

A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one and sending it in!

Speaking of uncharted ground, why not take a chance and get a malaphor book as a cool stocking stuffer this Christmas? “He Smokes Like a Fish” and “Things Are Not Rosy-Dory” are both available on Amazon for cheap! They bend nicely in any stocking and they also fit in any bathroom library. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0692652205


The truth is in the pudding

A defendant was telling Judge Judy that the facts will come out shortly. This is a conflation of “the truth will out” (the facts will always be discovered) and “the proof is in the pudding” (the final results of something are the only way to judge its quality or veracity). Some may think this is a malaprop (mistaken use of a similar sounding word) – “truth” for “proof”. However, given the context, it is very likely the speaker confused two idioms resulting in a nice malaphor. A big thanks to Vicki Ameel-Kovacs for hearing this one and Mike Kovacs for his cub reporting.


They are not going to let this ship go down in flames

Kasie Hunt on MSNBC’s Morning Joe was musing about Republican senators not wanting the party to go down with Trump. I believe this is a conflation of “go down with the ship” (to fall or be punished because of one’s involvement with some larger group or enterprise) and “go down in flames” (fail spectacularly). “Shot down in flames” (judged harshly and rejected) might also be in the mix given the context. “Go down” is in both phrases, so is probably the cause of the mixup. A big thanks to Bruce Ryan for hearing this one and sending it in!


Stem this dam

Heidi Przybyla was on Nicole Wallace’s MSNBC show, Deadline White House, and was talking about members of Congress coming forward and admitting that Biden won. She said there is a “question if those coming forward are going to be enough to stem this dam for part of the country.” This appears to be an incongruent conflation (mix of two idioms with opposite meanings) of “stem the tide” (stop the course of a trend or tendency) and “break the dam” (allow information to flow). A big thanks to Bruce Ryan and Frank King for both hearing this one and sending it in.


I think that’s going to throw them for a curve

This one was spoken by Brad Fox on the HGTV show “Should I Stay or Go”. The homeowners were given an unexpected choice. This is a congruent conflation of “throws (someone) a curve” and “throws (someone) for a loop”, both meaning something unexpected that upsets or confuses someone. “Throw” is the common denominator here that causes the confusion. I have previously posted its bookend, “throws you a loop”, and you can revisit that malaphor at this link – https://malaphors.com/2014/06/09/the-business-side-always-throws-you-a-loop/. A tip of the hat to Yvonne Stam for hearing this one and sending it in!


Don’t hold your breath until the chickens are hatched

This one was heard on a political podcast warning both Democrats and Republicans to proceed with caution about the SCOTUS nomination of Amy Comey Barrett. The speaker was warning both sides to not think they are in control and know what is coming. This is a conflation of “don’t hold your breath” (don’t expect something to happen that will not happen) and “don’t count your chickens (before they hatch)” (not to expect something to happen before it has happened). Both idioms allude to tempering one’s expectations, or being cautious/wary of some desired or expected outcome. Both phrases begin with the word “don’t”, which probably led to the mental mashup. Chickens and eggs are commonly found in malaphors. Just type those words in the search engine on the website and see what comes up. A big thank you to Verbatim for hearing this one and sending it in!


We are being held at an arm’s pace

This great mashup was uttered on the Morning Joe show by Dr. Rick Bright, the immunologist who is now part of the Biden coronavirus task force. He was talking about the Trump administration’s refusal to work with the Biden task force. It is a conflation of “at arm’s length” (a person or organization purposely not connected so as not to influence one another) and “at a snail’s pace” (very slowly). This malaphor really describes the speaker’s meaning as it conveys the Trump administration not only moving slowly but not conveying any information. A big thanks to Sam Edelmann for hearing this one and passing it on!


I’m going through the hoops

The speaker was buying a new house, and someone asked how the process was going and this was his reply. It is a perfectly formed conflation of “jumping through hoops” (to face or complete many challenges that seem excessive or arbitrary) and “going through the motions” (to do the base functions of some activity without much thought or interest). Both phrases involve going through a series of activities, and both contain the word “through”, causing the mental hiccup. There is a legit phrase “going through hoops” but with the extra “the” I think this constitutes as a malaphor. A big thanks to high school friend Phil Chumley for unintentionally saying this one and recognizing that it was malaphor worthy!


That’s not what you call leading from the front foot

Nikema Williams (D-GA) was talking on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports about the current poor leadership. This is a mashup of “leading from the front” (to act or behave the way one advises or espouses) and “getting off on the right foot” (to have a positive or favorable start). I suppose that is better than leading from the back foot. Another big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one.