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.

I’m getting a little punch-happy

This one was said at the end of a long day of meetings.  It’s a nice word blend congruent conflation of “punch-drunk” and “slap-happy”, both meaning to be dazed or giddy.  I really like this one, as it also can describe being drunk, as in drinking too much punch at a party.  Certainly a few artillery punches will make one very happy…. for awhile.   A shout out to Nate Shand for hearing this one and passing it on!

This wait is mind-racking

This nice word blend malaphor was heard on the t.v. show Hell’s Kitchen.  Chef Ramsey was about to make his decision on the winner. As suspense was building, one of the contestants said “This wait is mind racking”.  This is a mash up of “mind-blowing” (overwhelming or astounding) and “nerve-racking” (very distressing or exhausting).  My guess is that the speaker was also thinking of “racking my brain” (to try very hard to think of something), something few do today thanks to Google.   Kudos to John and Heather Hatfield for hearing this one and sending it into Malaphor Central!

Want to read something that will rack your mind?  Check out my book “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available on Amazon for a cheap 6.99!


It was mind shattering

This word blend malaphor was heard on the Mark Madden sports show when he was interviewing NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire. The night before, Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins had an incredible goal against the Dallas Stars where he tried to bank a shot off their goalie, got the rebound from the back side of the goalie in mid-air and scored a goal. Pierre said Sid’s play was “mind shattering.”  This is a word blend of “mind blowing” and “earth shattering”, both meaning shock or surprise.  This one is said often, based on Google hits, and perhaps has crept into the English lexicon, but I still believe it is a malaphor.  It certainly is better than “earth blowing”.  Kudos to Michael Ameel for hearing this one and passing it on!

To say Joe is excited is an under exaggeration

On the Discovery Channel’s Yukon Men, Stan describes the excitement of son, Joey, about goose hunting: “To say Joe is excited is an under-exaggeration.”  This is a nice word blend malaphor of “understatement”, “overstatement’, and “over exaggeration”.  The latter is frowned on by some linguists as being redundant, but my research indicates it is a legitimate idiom, meaning wildly or excessively exaggerating.  The recent kerfuffle on the audience numbers at the recent US inauguration is perhaps a good example.  A big thanks to Nate Brogin for hearing this one and sending it in!


Nobody in the audience even blinched

This nice word blend of “blinked” and “flinched” was uttered in a unique conversation.  My friend Martin Pietrucha, who contributed the 2016 malaphor of the year (MOTY) “give them a round of hand”, was telling his mother-in-law about his MOTY award, and said that after the guy made the “round of hand” remark nobody in the audience, besides Martin, even “blinched”.  Not sure what a malaphor about a malaphor is called.  It’s almost like seeing a double rainbow. Any ideas out there?  Anyway, a big round of hand to Martin Pietrucha for blurting this one out.

Hillary Clinton is in the process of refudiating everything that Mr. Trump says

This nice word blend malaphor was uttered by Sean Jackson, chairman of the Florida Black Republican Caucus and Trump supporter, on MSNBC’s Hardball.  Mr. Jackson stated, “Hillary Clinton is in the process of refudiating everything that Mr. Trump says by trying to make him out to be the bigot.” See

This is a mash up of “repudiating” (rejecting the validity or authority) and “refuting” (proving or saying that something is not true).   Word blend malaphors are an interesting subset of idiom blend malaphors.  There are quite a few posted on this website.  A shout out to Sam Edelmann who heard this one and passed it on!

If you liked this malaphor from the political world, you will want to get the book “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available on Amazon!  There is a whole chapter devoted to mash ups from politics.


Rusty is cowarding in the bathroom

Linda Bernstein, loyal malaphor follower, related this one from the Fourth of July. Fireworks were being set off all around, and Rusty the dog hid away in the interior bathroom to get away from the loud noises.    Her grandson Nick then exclaimed that “Rusty is cowarding in the bathroom”.    This is a nice word blend of cowering and coward.   Cowards do often cower, and the words sound similar, so the mix up is a perfect blend.    As many of you know, most malaphors are idiom blends but once in awhile two words are blended together to make a nice word blend malaphor.  These are very different than portmanteaus, as I have explained in previous posts.  A hat tip to Linda Bernstein for sending this beauty in!

I have a quandrum

A spin on MLK’s famous speech?  No, but a pretty good word blend,  combining “quandary” (dilemma) and “conundrum” (a puzzle).  As I have explained in previous posts, single word malaphors are different than portmanteaus.  A portmanteau is an intentional blending of two words to form a new word with a specific meaning, such as “smog” (a blend of smoke and fog).  A single word malaphor is an unintentional blending of two words to create a new word that is incorrect, such as “Buckminster Palace” (Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace), or a “faceover” (makeover and facelift).  Interestingly, Quandrum is the name of a Belgian Ale brewed by the Barrel of Monks brewery located in Boca Raton, Florida.  It is described as a “quadraphonic Belgian style quadrupel aged several months in rum barrels”.   Cheers!   A big shout out to Tiffany G. for hearing this one and passing it on!

Want to know more about single word malaphors?  Buy my book, He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors.  An entire chapter is devoted to these little gems.  Available now on Amazon at



Malaphors are not just idiom blends, but can be word blends as well (if you click on the category Word Blends you will find the ones I have posted).  This word blend was uttered by Sarah Palin in her speech endorsing Donald Trump for President.  She uses it in this context:

“And you quit footing the bill for these nations who are oil-rich, we’re paying for some of their squirmishes that have been going on for centuries. Where they’re fighting each other and yelling ‘Allahu akbar,’ calling jihad on each other’s heads forever and ever. Like I’ve said before, let them duke it out and let Allah sort it out.”

It is a mash up of “squirm” (to wriggle the body from side to side) and “skirmish” (a brief fight between small groups).  While one might argue that this is actually a portmanteau, I would disagree.  A portmanteau is an intentional combination of two (or more) words or morphemes, and their definitions, into one new word, such as smog (smoke and fog).  A word blend malaphor is unintentional (I believe Ms. Palin did not mean to say “squirmish”) and it does not create a new word that means something (I don’t think).  Kudos to John Costello for finding this one and passing it on!