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You can look it up in your Strunk and Wagnalls

Not quite Rowan and Martin. The submitter’s wife uttered this nice word blend, which is a conflation of “Funk and Wagnalls” (dictionary/encyclopedia) and “Strunk and White” (American English writing style guide).  The Funk/Strunk rhyming is obviously the culprit here.  A big thanks to Martin Pietrucha for hearing this one and sending it in.

If you want to look up “malaphors”, purchase the malaphor book, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, on Amazon.  Makes a great stocking stuffer (or fire starter).

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The President is using his bully pit to create questions on our elections

This gem was uttered by Maria Teresa Kumar on MSNBC’s Last Word on November 12, 2018.  Is it a malaphor?  I think it is a malaphor word blend of “bully pulpit” (a public position that allows a person to share his views with a large audience) and “pit bull” (an aggressive and tenacious person).  The latter defines the subject and the former was the intended idiom to be used.  A big thank you to James Kozlowski for hearing this one and sharing it.


Stormy McDaniels

Larry Noble, a campaign finance expert and former general counsel for the Federal Election Commission, uttered this word blend on the PBS News Hour last night.  It is a mash up of Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, the two women who alleged to have affairs with Donald Trump before the 2016 election.  Malaphors can be word blends as well as idiom blends, such as this one or Buckminster Palace, a blend of Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace (with perhaps a dash of Buckminster Fuller).

President Donald Trump listens as Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)


It’s a powerhorse

Bill Goldberg, host of the History Channel’s “Forged in Fire” uttered this word blend malaphor when describing a particular sword.  This is a congruent conflation of “powerhouse” and “workhorse”, both describing a person or thing having great energy or strength.

Word blends are a subset of malaphors.  They are an unintentional blending of two or more words.  If you type word blend in the search engine on this blog or go to the index and scroll down to Word Blends you will see the many word blends I have posted.  Some examples are “Buckminster Abbey” (Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey and maybe Buckminster Fuller), and “blinched” (flinched and blinked).  The word blend malaphor is different than the portmanteau.  A portmanteau is an intentional blend of two words to create a new word with its own definition.  An example is smog (fog and smoke).  Word blend malaphors are simply mixed up words with no separate definition and are said unintentionally.  I hope you enjoyed my wordplay lesson of the day.

A big thank you to Anthony Kovacs for hearing this word blend and sending it in.

 


I was trying to buttercoat it

From the submitter:  “My coworker just said this when complimenting my singing. He used an expletive the first time, but when he repeated it, he used a euphemism in place of the expletive. When I said, “That’s not what you said before,” he said he was trying to buttercoat it, not realizing that he was mixing two expressions. When I told him that what he just said is a malaphor of butter up and sugarcoat, he said that it perfectly conveyed his sentiment.”

This is a great word blend of “sugarcoat” (palatable, or easy to take) and “butter up” (to be nice to someone by flattery or other means).  I think this should be a new phrase in the lexicon, and the above situation is a great example.  A big thanks to Diana for sharing this one!

 


Bockage

The speaker meant to say “package” but this came out.  It is  a nice word blend malaphor  of “box” and “package”.  Since most packages in the mail now come in boxes, thanks to Amazon and the internet, “bockage” was eventually going to be spit out by someone.   And really, isn’t it a nice word?  Sounds like the lord of the manor pronouncing “package”.  Also could be used when there are delays in shipping:  “Sorry, we have a bockage right now”.   A big thanks to Martin Pietrucha who accidentally blurted this one out and shared it immediately!

If you like this word blend check out my book on malaphors entitled “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available on Amazon.  Just click this link:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/0692652205.  There’s a whole chapter devoted to word blends, which are not portmanteaus, by the way (explanation in the book!).


That game was a real nail-breaker

I just heard this nice word blend malaphor today.  A couple of guys in the sauna were talking about the Penguins/Predators final game for the Stanley Cup and one blurted this out.  It is a mash up of “nail-biter” (a situation whose outcome is marked with nervous apprehension) and “heart-breaker” (a situation that causes great sadness).  Since the subject was hockey, perhaps “icebreaker” (to initiate a conversation or get it started) was also on the speaker’s mind.