Contact

If you hear or see a malaphor, please let me know by dropping a comment on the website.  Please include who said it and/or where you heard/saw it.


528 Comments on “Contact”

  1. Laszlo says:

    I actually heard that one also a while back.. second that e-motion..

  2. Two you need-

    In a client meeting my friend said

    “Well that’s just spilt milk under the bridge”

    Another is

    That will be icing on the gravy

    • davemalaphor says:

      Thanks Jonathan. Actually I have posted the spilt milk one in an earlier post. It was a line from a movie (check out the malaphors under the Movies heading). the other is excellent and coincidentally heard it from another person this week! Will post and give both of you credit. Thanks and please send more!

  3. davemalaphor says:

    Love the malaphor, Sarah. And I also enjoy your blog!

  4. Ken D. says:

    I don’t know if this counts, but the other day I managed to utter the almost creepy phrase “I see it in my bones,” a combination of “I can see it already” and “I feel it in my bones” (in reference to my – correct – prediction that my kitten was about to make some trouble).

  5. glen says:

    This site is fantastic.

    I don’t have anything to add, but, I have a suggestion/request. Is there any way you could easily add a ‘random’ link, that is, a url that would redirect to a random article from the entire site?

    For an example of what I mean, see http://clientsfromhell.net/random

  6. Emma Conroy says:

    I don’t know if this counts, but it made us laugh. This morning the sky was full of those thin, fluffy bands of cloud, and sunny. With the ‘Shepherd’s warning / delight’ saying in mind, and also the visual appearence of the clouds, Sophie announced that it was “Shepherd’s Pie in the Sky today!”

  7. Jazzy says:

    I heard a really great one a while back… “We’ll burn that bridge when we get to it”

  8. Matt Deppe says:

    Last week a friend was trying to explain why him and his house mate get along so well.

    “I guess it works so well because we don’t step on each others feathers”.

  9. My wife blurts these malaphors out all the time. Now I have a name for them! Hilarious!
    “What I say is fine until you hear it!”
    “That’s pretty as pink.”
    “It’s just putty around my fingers.”
    “I’m going to do it, come high or hell water!”
    “You could be writing a tax off.”
    “We threw the cat against the wall and she stook!”
    “I’m going to do this in the morning when I’m bright and bushy.”
    “Getting them to answer the questions is like pulling nails.”
    “If we do that we can kill a stone.” (instead of something about killing two birds with one stone)
    “This just scratches the tip of the iceberg.”
    “We need to get our eggs in a row.”
    “It sets off a cascade of dominoes.”
    “I’m sure that will go over like a lead bullet.”
    “We went hip to hip and I’m taller.” (Nose to nose?)
    “There’s a bunch of penny ant waists there!” (Pantywaists?)
    “I’m going to blow the winds out of your socks.”
    “I’m pulling his teeth to get the data.”
    “You don’t want to be too good for your shoes.” (too big for your boots?)
    “I could take it or keep it.”
    “You could tumble hand over heels.”
    “In a few hours, I’m going to give up and throw in the rag.”
    “I’m going to pull his button.”
    “If it’s not your boat of tea…”
    “He was sharp as a tick.”
    “It’s not skin off my teeth.”
    “I’m a bull in a china closet.”
    “You don’t have to twist his hand to get him to do that.”

  10. jackwestcoast says:

    My wife blurts these phrases out all the time. Now I have a name for them. Hilarious!
    “What I say is fine until you hear it!”
    “That’s pretty as pink.”
    “It’s just putty around my fingers.”
    “I’m going to do it, come high or hell water!”
    “You could be writing a tax off.”
    “We threw the cat against the wall and she stook!”
    “I’m going to do this in the morning when I’m bright and bushy.”
    “Getting them to answer the questions is like pulling nails.”
    “If we do that we can kill a stone.” (instead of something about killing two birds with one stone)
    “This just scratches the tip of the iceberg.”
    “We need to get our eggs in a row.”
    “It sets off a cascade of dominoes.”
    “I’m sure that will go over like a lead bullet.”
    “We went hip to hip and I’m taller.” (Nose to nose?)
    “There’s a bunch of penny ant waists there!” (Pantywaists?)
    “I’m going to blow the winds out of your socks.”
    “I’m pulling his teeth to get the data.”
    “You don’t want to be too good for your shoes.” (too big for your boots?)
    “I could take it or keep it.”
    “You could tumble hand over heels.”
    “In a few hours, I’m going to give up and throw in the rag.”
    “I’m going to pull his button.”
    “If it’s not your boat of tea…”
    “He was sharp as a tick.”
    “It’s not skin off my teeth.”
    “I’m a bull in a china closet.”
    “You don’t have to twist his hand to get him to do that.”

  11. Hi, Dave. I’ve been sharing your malaphors on my social-media channels. One of my friends recently replied that she thought of me the other day when she said, “I dropped the boat on that one.” What a lovely double whammy: she missed the boat and dropped the ball, all at once. Haven’t we all done that a time or two?

  12. Hi, Dave. I just committed a malaphor. I said, “Don’t let any moss grow under your feet.” A rolling stone barged into my brain as I was trying to say “Don’t let the grass grow under your feet.”

  13. Dave, I just malaphored. I told my son, that I “couldn’t keep the difference straight” between two terms (tell the difference between the terms + keep the terms straight).

  14. Hi, Dave. Today as my son dug into a long-awaited sandwich, he said, “This hits the ticket” (as in “This hits the spot” merged with “This is the ticket”).

  15. Daniel Mustard says:

    This one came from my supervisor. She talks so fast and seems to have so many things on her mind that they often get mixed up. It’s amusing!

    Speaking of clubs with problems who look at other clubs and assume everything is going smoothly she said, “the fence is always greener on the other side.”

    I had to agree!

  16. Delilah Waxman says:

    I was in class today and someone took another person’s answer. He then proceeded to say he stole my lightning

  17. Daniel Mustard says:

    This one comes from my mother who I love dearly. In the hospital after my father’s procedure, she was recounting the story of how the doctor gave her some news and exclaimed, “You could have knocked me over with a spoon!”

    Wha?? Knocked me over with a feather? No idea where spoon came in, maybe you could enlighten me.

    Thanks.

  18. Polly McGilvray says:

    I was going into a brunch without my husband and when asked where he was, i said, “He’s just an old stick in the poke.” I meant to stay “stick in the mud” or “slow poke”.

  19. Tess Marie says:

    I have two- my boss said that a client was “one of those hard-moving targets,” mixing “hard-to-hit” and “fast-moving” targets together. And one of the writers for my local paper wrote that a company had “caught whiff” of something (caught wind + got a whiff). Pretty sure those both count, right? 🙂

    • davemalaphor says:

      Excellent Tess. Will post. Not sure about caught whiff. If the speaker had added an “a” I think this would be an accepted phrase – caught a whiff. Similar to got a whiff. Will think more….

  20. Christopher says:

    I just saw this on a forum about Madonna: “I agree [that this album is a desperate attempt to stay relevant], and I think the air horns in ‘bitch im madonna’ are the knife in the coffin for anyone who objects.”

    I am delighted by this mix-up: obviously “nail in the coffin” is being evoked, which likely refers to Madonna’s career, but the expression is directed at “anyone who objects”. Not sure where the knife comes from, perhaps from being stabbed in the back (Madonna betraying her fans?). Or perhaps her career is already dead, and the knife is overkill?

    Ok bear with me, this theory’s a bit of a stretch — but it seems like the idiom is meant to say that that the air horns are an irrefutable sign that Madonna is trying too hard to remain en vogue, and anyone who argues that this music is as good as her previous work are going out of their way to justify the use of airhorns. So, the token air horns are clearly a cultural signpost, and to treat them otherwise is a foolish assumption. With this logic, the figurative knife is Occam’s razor. KISS!

  21. My husband and I were arguing one day. We own a small law firm and work together. I have a horrible habit of mixing up expressions. He calls me the Norm Crosby of malapropisms. I got so mad at him one day at work and I said to him, “How stupid do you think I am? Do you think I would paint myself in a corner and throw the key away?” Luckily that ended the argument because he was laughing so hard.

    Another day we were in a hurry to get to a Court Appearance and he was driving. He drives so slow and is so overly cautious. He was trying to make a right hand turn onto a busy road and missed at least three chances that I perceived. So, I calmly said to him ” You know Danny he who hesitates doesn’t get the early worm.” Once again he erupted in laughter.

    He has an entire book of them he keeps.

  22. Red C. says:

    Having only recently discovered this great website, I was excited to find my own malaphor to share today! I was talking with some friends earlier about how difficult I had found a particular essay and said that writing it had been like “pulling blood out of a stone”, then realised something was definitely not right there. I think I got ‘getting blood out of a stone’ mixed up with ‘pulling teeth’. It’s certainly an interesting image, though!

  23. I pulled this one yesterday. I was going to a party north of the city. When someone asked me if I knew how to get where it was being held, I said “Well, I know that area like the back of my neck”.

    I’d never been in that area. That’s why I have a GPS.

    And for that matter, how well does anyone know the back of their hand? Without looking at it, can you tell me anything interesting about the back of your hand? Particularly, something that makes it more interesting than the back of my hand?

  24. Laura says:

    I was on the phone with a friend earlier today; in the course of discussing workplace politics, she said “I’m not one to wave the drum for feminism too often.” Quite a visually evocative conflation of “wave the flag” and “beat the drum!”

    Love this site! Thanks!

  25. I love this webpage. I feel like there are many more out there like me. I have said yet another to my husband who I was warning to be careful with a Motion he was submitting to a fickle Judge. I told him he had better “watch his P’s and cross his T’s”. I once again got the hearty laugh I usually do when I inadvertently do this.

  26. Beehive Crick says:

    Hi there! I have enoyed your website very much. I was in a meeting at work this week and our client said they were worried that “we’ll be laughed out of the water”. It was very difficult for me to keep a straight face. Please do share this with the world if suitable 🙂

  27. Deb Mande says:

    Yesterady, while visiting my mother in law at the hospital, I heard a nurse remark that finding a doctor on the weekend was “kind of touch or miss.”” She apparently combined “hit or miss” with “touch and go.” Anyway she was right.

  28. Dave says:

    Does “800-pound gorilla in the room” count? That’s a mix of “800 pound gorilla” and “Elephant in the room”. I’ve definitely heard “800-pound gorilla in the room” in a few business meetings back in the day.

    This malaphor idea is so intriguing! Glad I found this blog!

  29. Marykathryn says:

    Well my friend I have done it again. I was having a conversation with my husband about a particular client. I told him I was concerned about running up this particular client’s legal bill and told him we should not charge him for some work we had done. He gave me “the look” as I call it and I said, ” yes, I know, it is like taking food out of our pocket.” Once again the discussion ended in my husband laughing at me.

  30. Marykathryn says:

    Okay it gets worse. As my husband and I lay here in bed still discussing this subject, I am annoyed and tell him ” he is being penny wise and a dollar short”. I think I should give up on this argument,

  31. Marykathryn says:

    The moon must be full or my brain is in rapid misfire mode. It is turning out to be a hectic Monday as Order’s from Judges come into the office that are not so favorable to us. We are supposed to meet a friend for dinner. I tell my husband that we should ” ride out the rain and take a storm check.”

  32. louismande says:

    I just posted a malaphor under Television and it should have gone under Politics. Sorry.

  33. Vicki Kovacs says:

    “At the drop of a whim.” Heard on a segment on TMZ.

  34. MrTonk says:

    I overheard this one when a woman was chatting to her friends about how hard she had been working lately, “You know I was burning the bridges at both ends.”

  35. Barry Eigen says:

    I just saw a minor malaphor on the NY Times website: “hold pat”–a mashup of hold firm and stand pat, or maybe “hold fast” and stand pat. (And then there’s “stand firm” too, although it doesn’t have anything to do with this particular mashup that I can see.) It’s in a comment to an article about the Fed raising interest rates. Here’s the entire thing:

    “Chris 10013 40 minutes ago
    While the Fed may be loath to show a pull back from its proposed rates, a move upwards followed by a downward revision a year from now if we move toward recession would be worse. We are well under the targeted inflation benchmark, the world economies are reeling. I can see no reason to move up rates. The Fed should hold pat and signal a revisiting next year.”

    Here’s a link to the article. I didn’t know how to link the specific comment: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/31/business/challenged-on-left-and-right-the-fed-faces-a-decision-on-rates.html?ref=business. Interestingly, the phrase appeared in 2009 as well, also in a sort of fiscal context, regarding OPEC oil production: http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/hold-pat.1318901/

    Maybe even more interestingly, there’s a Pat Hold on Facebook.

    Cheers,

    B

  36. Barry Eigen says:

    A quick followup because I hit “send” too quickly. There are quite a few other uses of the phrase available on the Internet; most seem to be fiscally related. One commenter thought it was a poker term, but it seems to be a malaphor for “stand pat” there too. There’s at least one sports reference too.

  37. Barry Eigen says:

    I heard a good one yesterday at a conference my garden club held in Washington: “We pooled our heads together.” The context was a story about the founding of a garden at the U.S. National Arboretum. The designers were told at the last minute that they needed to make a major change to one of the parts of the garden, so they “pooled our heads together” to quickly come up with an alternative. I hear a mashup of “pooled our ideas,” (on the example of pooled our money) “put our heads together,” and maybe even, by sound, “pulled our thoughts (or ideas) together,” and other variations. You might have other ideas, but in any case I thought it was pretty spectacular.

  38. Ian says:

    One from lunch with my wife today:

    “You literally just took the food right out of my nose.”

  39. Ian says:

    While talking to my cat (everyone does that, right?) I told him “You’re not the brightest toolbox in the shed.”, a malaphor that my wife immediately noticed. We thought it was a rather amusing conflation of “sharpest tool in the shed” and “brightest crayon in the box”.

  40. Okay my friend I have done it again. My husband and I were discussing a very contentious and perplexing case we have. The more I dig the more I find and I am suspicios of our client. Not a comfortable place. I finally look at my husband and say, ” honey, we are only seeing one side of this iceberg”. Once again he laughs at me.

  41. Well my friend just when I thought I couldn’t utter anymore I come to you with this one. My husband and I are working on a very tricky case where the truth is hard to find. After uncovering a huge lie and huge mistake on the part of our adversary, I announced to my husband, “Danny, We are only seeing two sides of this iceberg! ” No wonder the poor man calls me Gracie.

  42. davemalaphor says:

    Thanks marykathryn. Will post this beauty soon. This reminds me of a prior malaphor post – “we barely scratched the tip of the iceberg” (1/19/13). Cheers!

  43. Hi Dave. So, we are preparing for a trial that begins soon. My husband and I were discussing strategy and who was going to do what. I told him we had better really study the transcript from the Deposition and be prepared to catch the witness in any lies. He agreed. I then said, “Well afterall, we do not want to get caught with our pants off.” Happy New Year to you.

  44. Ian says:

    “At least you’ve got a leg in the door!”

    Me, speaking to my wife regarding the use of acronyms at our respective jobs, and how she knows more of the lingo in my field (biological sciences) than I do hers (clinical psychology) owing to her background. Leg up…foot in the door… I’ve been on a roll lately.

  45. Aboror says:

    Ey, I heard one earlier- not sure if you have it.

    “Jump out of my pants”

    It was used to describe the sound of the new bell used at school by a friend of mine – the bell in question hadn’t changed from our preschool days, and we’re now in Year 12. I thought it was great.

  46. Albie says:

    I overheard one of my friends in conversation talking about someone who they thought was lying to them. They said “Now, I always like to give people the shadow of the doubt, but…” Thought it was an amusing malaphor, blending ‘benefit of the doubt’ and ‘without a shadow of a doubt’

  47. I overheard a friend say “I like to give people the shadow of the doubt”, which I thought was a funny malaphor of “without a shadow of a doubt” and “the benefit of the doubt”

  48. Max says:

    I said this myself while talking to my girlfriend, luckily only days before I found this site so she still remembered. While relaying something someone had said recently I said that “I heard it on the gravy train”.
    Also, I love the website.

  49. John says:

    I recently got into exchanging malaphors with my bosses at work. Today, I got one of those automated replies because one of them was out of the office for the weekend, so I seized the opportunity to write, “When the cat is away, the chickens come home to roost.”

    I may modify that at a later date to say something to the effect of, “When the cat is away, the fox guards the hen house.”

  50. Ian says:

    Finally caught one that wasn’t from my wife or I! The host at a seminar I attended today introduced the speaker and started to go into detail about some of her work but caught her self and said she “didn’t want to spoil her thunder”. Spoil the surprise, steal her thunder…


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