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.


352 Comments on “Contact”

  1. This may not be a true malaphor, but my college roommate’s father was from Greece and when he was angry he would say (yell) the most hilarious things. One day he was particularly riled up about Something and he yelled in his Greek accent, “I’’m going to take the bull by the horns, and shove it, and ram it down your throat!” We still laugh about this 20-some years later.

    • davemalaphor says:

      I like it, but alas it is considered a mixed metaphor and not a malaphor (the former being several metaphors linked together and the latter a blend of two or more idioms). Thanks for viewing the blog! Tell your friends!

  2. Feline17 says:

    Said “interest-grabbing” today, realised an hour or two later that I had mixed up attention-grabbing and interesting/caught my interest 🙂

  3. Michael Mintz says:

    Love the website, but…. ‘Running point’ is a basketball term.

    • davemalaphor says:

      I thought of that, but it is “running the point” as the basketball expression, not “running point”. Subtle difference, but I think the speaker was confusing running interference so I think it is a good malaphor. If she had said, “Ty Cobb is running the point”, I would agree with you.

  4. Gibbon says:

    “Admittedly he’s bald as a bat” – Work colleague attempting to describe why a helmet might feel uncomfortable for a customer.

  5. Barry Eigen says:

    I’m pretty sure this is a malaphor, but it’s difficult to piece together: “shudder in its tracks.” Here’s the full quote: “That ruthlessly efficient system helped bubonic plague kill nearly 25 million people and made the ancient world shudder in its tracks during the Justinian plague of 541–542.” I’m thinking it’s a mashup of “shudder to think” and “freeze in its tracks.” Don’t know why, but it also reminds me of “shiver in their boots.”

  6. Gerry Abbott says:

    Hey Dave,

    I haven’t sent you one in a while. This one is from a PTI discussion today about the Lakers & LeBron James’ free agency. Wilbon reported that Magic Johnson [the Lakers’ director of basketball operations] stated that they are not putting all their marbles in one basket. Even Kornheiser noticed that it should have been eggs, not marbles!

    Hope all is well.


  7. Parents should stick to their ground involving kids’ names.

    Robert Myers commenting on Quota.

  8. Edit: that should be Quora

  9. Jesse Garwood says:

    A physician I work with just asked if would do a fellowship – “I’m trying to keep an open book”.

    “Keep an open mind” and “I’m an open book”

  10. Kenny Nelson says:

    “I’ll drop you like a rental car”.
    Possible malaphor mash up of the expressions, “drop you like a sack of potatoes” and “Drive it like a rental car”

    Small Town Crime Wave from 5-21-18 Appleton, WI, United States / 105.7 WAPL – Wisconsin’s Rock Station
    May 19th City of Green Bay
    Police received a report of a man holding a sign with swear words on it on Shadow Lane. When someone confronted the man about the sign, he reportedly acted like he had a gun in his pocket and told the person who confronted him, “I’ll drop you like a rental car”.

  11. Bob newstadt says:

    “We would have been kicking ourself in the foot if we hadn’t already done the research and proven that this was safe,” Brown said. — hehe. From business Insider article on the heme ingredient in Impossible burgers. Combines “shooting ourselves in the foot” unintentional self-inflicted injury with “kicking ourselves” self-flagellation as punishment. Imagine a foot kicking itself. Impossible!

  12. Ben says:

    “I’ve just spent the last thirty years busting my arse off” – Gordon Ramsay on the Masterclass trailer… made me chuckle…

  13. Victor Richardson says:

    My late friend Lola was full of these malaphors and kept us helpless with laughter on many an occasion. How about this one: “Sorry, I couldn’t tell you – not off the cuff of my head”. Or when her husband slipped and fell in the snow: “He went down like a cropper!” And she would regularly just use the wrong word: “HIV is a big problem … even extraterrestrials are getting it now” … oh, I have a list of them!

  14. Clay Johnson says:

    Years ago I heard “Let’s talk about the 80 pound elephant in the room”…which is a combo of 800 pound gorilla and elephant in the room. The 80 pound piece made it just that more entertaining (at a business meeting)

  15. Bob Smith says:

    During an interview on MSNBC on Sunday, 9/9/18, it sounded like Omarosa Manigault Newman said “They want to take me to bat”. I think she was mixing up “take me to task” with somebody’s “turn at bat”. Is this a malaphor?

  16. Fox News article about Wendy’s employees making a blind couple’s eating experience good uses the phrase:
    Struck a heartstring with many

  17. Matt Whittaker says:

    Im at work and a colleague of mine at was talking about an Andy Kaufman bit that had an audience in “floods of laughter”

  18. Sean Peery says:

    I would love to see a page that’s just the list of malaphors where you can view them in a dictionary style, instead of having to scroll through the years. Then clicking the malaphor could jump to the relevant section back in the main view.

    Additional malaphor: Don’t shoot all your fish in one barrel.

  19. Brenda says:

    My husband worked with a woman who was always dropping malaphors! Here is one of my favorites. “That really threw a wrench in the monkey works.”

  20. Matt Whittaker says:

    Dave, I have another

    While doing some research on a company at work, I came across a disgruntled previous employee leaving a bitter review of his/her previous employer. The title of her rant about the company not living up to promises was “Just read between the Lies”

  21. verbatim says:

    “Pulled a rabbit out of his head”

    ‘Pulls a rabbit out of his head:’ Jason Witten teased for gaffe

  22. claire says:

    Brilliant! All of these are simply brilliant. Thank you for taking the time to bring all these gems together, they made my day. I was curious about a mate’s mixed up malaphor “shooting yourself in the foot to spite your face” and a quick googling brought me here. Fantastic.

  23. Eric says:

    Hi Dave,

    Hope you are keeping well.

    I have a colleague who seems to have a never ending supply of these, his most recent being ‘it’s better than a kick in the eye with a sharp stick’.

    He also recently came up with the gem ‘you have to fill your boots whilst the hay shines’.

    Hope at least one of those meets your approval, best wishes, Eric.

  24. Saralee says:

    Not sure if these are malaphors, but these still crack me up decades later, uttered by a silly friend;

    Work; its a job in itself.

    I read a great book; “Women who Dance with the Wolves.”
    Mash up of the book, “Women who Run with the Wolves” and the movie, “Dances with Wolves”.

    Sometimes when I pass by a mirror, I catch myself looking out of the corner of my eye and can’t turn away.

    • davemalaphor says:

      Thanks for sharing Saralee! While the first and third are not malaphors (the first seems like a Yogi Berraism), the second is indeed a mashup of two books and therefore is a malaphor. Dave

  25. Barry Eigen says:

    Got one, hot off the presses: “boiled to a head.” Here’s the full context: “Sunday’s Bills-Jaguars game started off tense when Jalen Ramsey took time from his busy day to remind Buffalo’s players they were trash. That conflict boiled to a head in the third quarter when a brawl erupted on the turf at New Era Field.” The mashup is obvious–boiled over and came to a head. Here’s the citation:

  26. Timothy Kendall says:

    My mother used the following two:

    “Don’t chew with your mouth full”, and

    “Don’t talk with your mouth open.”

  27. verbatim says:

    The person was probably joking, but today I heard someone say,

    Beat two deal bulls with one horn

    This is a triple combination:

    Kill two birds with one stone
    Beat a dead horse
    Take the bull by the horns

  28. Mal says:

    Back in the late 80s, when describing a poor choice of paint colour on a porch, an old friend of mine observed, “It stuck out like a sore eye!”; a phrase that has given me decades of pleasure.

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