Cash it home

During the NBA playoff game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors, ESPN commentator Jeff Van Gundy described a Laker basket in the first quarter where the player went through traffic to score. He said the player was able to “cash it home” despite the defense. This is a mash up of “send/take home” (win some sort of achievement) and “cash in” (to take advantage of a situation or moment). “Drive home” (to make a point) may also be in the mix as the player was driving to the basket and made a point (literally a couple). A big thanks to Bruce Ryan for hearing this one and sending it in!


Draw their own opinions

During a National Public Radio (NPR) station’s fundraising, the host read a donor’s statement that was complementing NPR news reporters, stating that they are neutral and “allow listeners to draw their own opinion.” This is a subtle mash up of “draw (one’s) own conclusion” (to decide what to believe after considering the facts) and “air/voice (one’s) opinion” (to make one’s argument known). A big thank you to David Barnes for hearing this one and sending it in.

I have to jump through all those bells and whistles

It’s hard to keep track these days of all those bells, hoops, whistles, and hurdles.  This was heard in a conversation.  It is a mash up of “jumping through hoops” (having to do extra things in order to do something you want) and “bells and whistles” (fancy add-ons or gadgets).  Both phrases refer to “extra things” which I think is the cause of the conflation. Kudos to Bob Edwards for uttering this one and Susan Edwards for promptly reporting it!

DeSantis has taken on more than he can bite off

On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”, Steve Rattner was doing his charts about DeSantis fighting with Disney and uttered this nice malaphor. It is a congruent conflation of “bite off more than (one) can chew” and “take on more than (one) can handle”, both meaning to take on more responsibility than one can handle. A big thanks to Ruth Dilts for hearing this one and sending it in!

We want to stick our hands in the sand

On the MSNBC show “Ana Cabrera Reports”, Eddie Glaude said, “Oftentimes, we want to stick our hands in the sand and say it’s not about race”. This is a mashup of “stick (one’s) head in the sand” (avoid a particular situation by pretending it does not exist) and “throw up (one’s) hands in the air” (express frustration or despair), “Hand” rhymes with “sand” so that may have misled the speaker, as well as “hand” sounding similar to “head”. Also, “stick your hands up” may have been in the mix. A big thank you to Jim Kozlowski for hearing this one and sending it in!

The answer’s in the pudding

In the documentary Stand, about NBA player Chris Jackson, this malaphor was uttered. It’s a mashup of “the proof’s in the pudding” (the real worth of something can only be determined by putting it to the test) and “the answer is blowing in the wind” (Bob Dylan lyric – “something we can’t grasp’?).

Speaking of the phrase, “the proof is in the pudding”, here is a nice exchange on NPR about the origin:

BEN ZIMMER: Well, the proof is in the pudding is a new twist on a very old proverb. The original version is the proof of the pudding is in the eating. And what it meant was that you had to try out food in order to know whether it was good.

INSKEEP: Zimmer adds that the word pudding itself has changed. In Britain, dating back centuries, pudding meant more than a sweet dessert.

ZIMMER: Back then, pudding referred to a kind of sausage, filling the intestines of some animal with minced meat and other things – something you probably want to try out carefully since that kind of food could be rather treacherous.

INSKEEP: OK. So, over the years, the original proverb has evolved. The original was the proof of the pudding is in the eating. It was shortened to the proof of the pudding, and then here in America, it morphed again to the proof is in the pudding. Apparently, the proof of the listening is in the correcting.

A big thanks to Mike Ameel for hearing this one and sending it in.

What really turns the coin…

On CBS Sunday Morning, to mark the 75th anniversary of Harry Truman’s executive order ending segregation in the U.S. military, David Martin reported on the years-long struggle of Black Americans in uniform. This malaphor appeared:

This is a mashup of “turn the page/tide” (to make a transition to something, usually positive) and “other side of the coin” (opposing view). “Flip a coin” (give something over to chance) might also be in the mix. A big thanks once again to Steve Grieme for hearing this one and sending it in!

How did you turn the tide around?

During the Phoenix Suns/LA Clippers NBA playoff game, TNT Sideline reporter Chris Haynes asked Phoenix coach Monte Williams before the start of the 4th quarter how they “turned the tide around” when they were down 13 to go up 10. This is a congruent conflation of “turn the tide” and “turn around”, both meaning to change or reverse something dramatically. A big thanks to Bruce Ryan for catching this very subtle malaphor and sending it in!

You’re left out in the wind

A husband and wife were discussing a challenging situation at work with no easy answer and the wife said, “You’re kinda left out in the wind”. Both immediately recognized malaphor gold and sent this one in. It is a mashup of “twist in the wind” (to be left in a very difficult situation) and “leave (one) out in the cold” (to exclude). Those Pittsburgh winds can certainly be cold and perhaps that was on the speaker’s mind. A big thanks to Joanne Grieme for uttering this beauty and Steve Grieme for sending it in!

His mouth shot him in the foot

A commentator was talking about a politician who undermines himself by saying inopportune things. This appears to be a mashup of “put (one’s) foot in (one’s) mouth” (to unintentionally say something foolish) and “shoot (oneself) in the foot” (damage or impede one’s own plans). Foot and mouth disease might have been on the speaker’s mind. Who knows? Other idioms possibly contributing are “run off at the mouth” (talk too much), “mouth off” (speak without discretion) and “run (one’s) mouth” (talk too much). For some reason, this malaphor reminds me of the classic one uttered by Ann Richards at the 1988 Democratic Convention, when she referred to George H.W. Bush  as someone who was “born with a silver foot in his mouth”. A big thanks to Verbatim for hearing this one and passing it on.