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.

569 Comments on “Contact”

  1. Teri Snedegar says:

    My husband and I were out to dinner with friends and he mixed “That really burns me up” with “gets your goat”. It came out as, “That really burns my goat!” I couldn’t stop laughing as I pictured a goat bursting into flames.

  2. Barry Eigen says:

    A new one for your “quench” page: “This should quench your curiosity,” a mashup of “quench your thirst” and “satisfy your curiosity.” The source is a website called Quora, and a posting about Paul McCartney’s brother. The exact quote is: “I’m sure I have others but this should quench your curiosity.” (The reference to “others” is to pictures of Paul and his brother.)

  3. Barry Eigen says:

    My wife and I are binge watching The Sopranos in anticipation of the new prequel movie that will be coming out in a couple of weeks. In season 2, episode 3, Tony Soprano’s teenage daughter, Meadow, has a party that gets out of control and requires police intervention. Tony gets her out of trouble with the police and says to her as they’re driving home: “Just lucky I knew that cop, so he cut me a favor.” It’s a mashup of “cut me a break” and “did me a favor.” I don’t know why (and apropos of nothing) but the syntax of this malaphor reminds me of when I was kid growing up in NYC. I’d call up to my mother (on the 4th floor of an apartment building) “Throw me out the window a ball.”

    • davemalaphor says:

      Excellent one. Did you know I included several Sopranos’ malaphors in my first book, He Smokes Like a Fish (and other malaphors)”? Colorful language and characters is a breeding ground for malaphors.

      • Barry Eigen says:

        I have the book (as any right-thinking person should), but I didn’t remember that. I’ll check it out.

  4. JAC says:

    An old Headmaster at my English secondary school (all boys), referring in an assembly to poor behaviour (I recall that it might have had something to do with hair length) uttered the immortal line “… and if this rule is not abided by, then the cookies will come home to roost, that I promise!”

    Cue bemused, muffled laughter.

  5. Barry Eigen says:

    Merry New Year! I have a new malaphor sighting and a more recent sighting of one you already have. 1. Yesterday, I received a political email asking for money (as don’t we all?) from Lucas Kunce, who’s running for the U.S. Senate in Missouri. The email opens: “Hey Barry — I know you probably got a lot of emails today from my team and others ahead of tonight’s big FEC deadline. [No kidding.] So I’ll keep this quick. . . .” I believe that this is a mashup of “I’ll keep this short” and “I’ll make this quick.” Looking on the Internet, I found one other use of this malaphor, from 4 years ago:
    2. You already have this one, but maybe you’d like it for your files anyway. I started watching a new series called “Hawkeye” on Disney+, and in the very first episode a character says: “I guess the beans are out of the bag.”


  6. verbatim says:

    In a conference call with my boss who says, “I’d just like to throw something out of the box.”

    It sound like a combination of “throw out an idea” and “think outside the box”

  7. davemalaphor says:

    Good one! Will post soon. Thanks again. Dave

  8. Torre Thompson says:

    On CNN’s YouTube Channel in a segment entitled ‘Doctor Responds to Journalist’s Covid Restriction Comments’ the former FDA commissioner, Dr. Jonathan Reiner, states (at 5:20) that ending restrictions “…is easier to do when we’re all singing from the same page here.” I believe this is a mixing ‘singing the same tune’ and ‘on the same page’, different expressions with the same meaning and pretty mild as far as malaphors go.

  9. verbatim says:

    Two of my friends talking. One correctly guesses the answer to some question they are contemplating. The other one says, “you hit the nail on the button.”

    This is combination of “hit the nail on the head” and “on the button”, both meaning “precise”.

  10. Recently a client in counseling was trying to describe to me his feelings of stress: “It’s like an 800 lb gorilla on my chest”.

  11. Peter H says:

    On tonight’s AppleTV MLB broadcast of the Padres / Braves game, the commentator described one of the players as “biting at the chomp”.

  12. verbatim says:

    “Didn’t make the mustard”

    Podcaster talking about contest submissions for a contest he was sponsoring that weren’t quite good enough. This is combination of “cut the mustard” and “make the cut”.

    PS: “cut the mustard” is a mondegreen of “cut the muster”, but that’s a different discussion.

    • davemalaphor says:

      Excellent! Will post toot suite. And may I ask who Verbatim is? Someone I know?

      • verbatim says:

        North-easterner; crossword puzzle editor; web developer; chocolate lover; news junkie. If you know someone like that, then maybe we know each other.

  13. verbatim says:

    “Give her some slack”

    Same podcaster as previous submission: talking about going easy on his producer who made a few mistakes. This is combination of “give her a break” and “cut her some slack”.

  14. Barry Eigen says:

    I’ve got a twofer today, one similar to one you’ve already got. I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve started watching “The Boys” on Amazon, but happy to say that there were two malaphors in Season 1, Episode 3. No idea whether they’re intentional. First and best, there’s a scene with PR guys pitching an idea with a litany of “Does she do this or that?” items, one of which is “Does she cry in her milk?” This is a mashup of cry in your beer (or soup) and cry over spilt milk. Later, in another scene, one of the main characters says “We’ll cross that bridge when we burn it,” an obvious mashup and not quite the same as “We’ll burn that bridge when we come to it” already on your site. This one sounds like a joke to me; the first one might be unintentional. Who knows?

    • davemalaphor says:

      I agree with you that the second one sounds intentional so I don’t think I will post (also it is just a slight variation of the one already posted). I also agree that the first one might be unintentional, although since it is scripted probably not. Regardless, I will post as it is an excelent mashup. Thank you!

  15. Fred Martin says:

    At 6/14/22 at 7;57 AM heard on the local weather on Baltimore’s WMAR Channel 2: ” A rumble of lightning.” Would this be a mashup of rumble of thunder and a crack of lightning?

  16. davemalaphor says:

    Good one! Will post soon. Regards, Dave

  17. arensb says:

    I’m not sure whether this qualifies:

    At the end: ““We are embarking on dangerous, uncharted territory,” [American Atheists president Nick] Fish added.”

  18. Barry Eigen says:

    For your “rug” collection. In today’s New York Times, a woman being asked her opinion about whether we’re paying enough attention to the issue of race, said “I don’t think we’re paying too much attention. I think it’s always been pushed under the rug,” a mashup of “pushed aside” and “swept under the rug (or carpet).” It turns out that one of the candidates for senator in Georgia has also said it: (The rest of the quote is pretty amusing too in my opinion.) And a “real housewife of New Jersey”: Maybe it will become a thing.

  19. Barry Eigen says:

    From today’s Washington Post: “nothing is off the limits,” a mashup of “nothing is off the table” and “nothing is off limits.” Here’s the whole quote: “When you speak out against Trump, a whole army of MAGA comes after you,” said Alyssa Farah, a former White House official and friend of Hutchinson who resigned after the November 2020 election and has been critical of Trump since. “They try to indict your character, professionalism — nothing is off the limits.”

  20. verbatim says:

    Podcaster alleging that a possible 2024 candidate has already ruined his chances of getting into the race by making certain statements:

    “Nailed himself to his own petard.”

    Seems to be a combination of:
    Nailed to a cross – severely punished
    Hoisted on his own petard – defeated by one’s own actions

  21. Aaron Rawson l says:

    So my wife had some minor surgery. I was on the phone with the hospital pharmacist to get the good stuff. She asked me if I had any questions, what I meant to say was: “This is a row I’ve hoe’d before.” Or even: “This is a row I’ve plowed before.”

    What I said was:
    “This is a hoe I’ve plowed before.”

    And then my wife and I laughed and laughed, while the person, that wanted to give us narcotics, was sitting on the other line, very quietly.

    She still came, which was nice of her.

  22. verbatim says:

    My boss is malaphor/gaff machine. Maybe you can put him on your payroll.

    He needs to buy new piece of industrial equipment for the business.

    He’s talking to the company he is interested in buying from. He wants to go to the company and get in in depth tour of the equipment (it’s pretty expensive).

    So he says to the rep: “I’d like to come look under the tires….”

    I almost burst out laughing. Not only did he create an amusing malaphor, but both idioms deal with cars:

    “look under the hood”

    “kick the tires”

    Both deal with doing a more in depth analysis.

  23. davemalaphor says:

    This is a beauty. Will post soon.

  24. bradbankston says:

    “Why buy the cow when you can get the sex for free?”


  25. Kathryn McCary says:

    The last three words of this Facebook meme appear to me to be a mashup of “peace of mind” and piece and quiet–although that may not actually qualify as a malaphor, come to think.

  26. Fandango says:

    I heard this on a Househunters episode on HGTV. The husband said to his wife, “Don’t put all your ducks in a basket.”

    Seems he was conflating, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” with “You need to get all your ducks in a row.”

  27. Kathryn McCary says:

    The use of “under” with “spotlight” sounded wrong to me–and I realized that what I expected following “under” was “microscope”; which would fit in many ways:

  28. verbatim says:

    Podcast talking about Elon Musk exposing the corruption of the previous Twitter owners.

    Podcaster theorizes that Elon has just, “scratched the tip of the iceberg.”

    Seems to be a combination of “scratched the surface of…” and “just the tip of the iceberg”.

  29. davemalaphor says:

    That’s a great one but I posted it several years ago (must be a popular one).

  30. verbatim says:

    Mayor Adams interviewed by Don Lemon. Talking about what happened with Tyre Nichols.

    “The pink elephant in the room”

    Seems to be a combination of:

    Elephant in the room – big issue that no one will talk about

    Pink elephant – hallucination

  31. davemalaphor says:

    This is a great one, but I have posted it previously (Alex Rodriguez saying it). However, I might make an exception and post yours as well as it is timely and a classic. Thanks Verbatim!

  32. verbatim says:

    “Led through the nose”

    “Harrison Ford replaces late Marvel star in blockbuster: ‘I’ll try a piece of that'”

    Harrison Ford talking the upcoming Indiana Jones movie, “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny”, and good script writing and treating the audience with respect.

    Seems to be a mash of “led by the nose” and maybe one of the following: “lead through” or “get through to” or “put through ones paces”

    • supuflounder says:

      I was working with one of my students (he is 66 years old) on some electronic design. I raised a question about voltages. He had forgotten to consider voltage drop in his design. His reply: “Ouch! You just threw a monkey into the wrench!”

    • davemalaphor says:

      Led by the nose but not sure of the other idiom. Seems like just a confusion of led and through.

      • verbatim says:

        Malaphors readers: do any of you recognize what the “through” part might be referring to in this conflation?

  33. verbatim says:

    “It was a five star homerun”

    My nephew who enjoyed the Superbowl very much.

  34. Barry Eigen says:

    We were watching a detective show called “Will Trent” last night (episode 6). Will said about criminals he was having trouble finding, “They cleaned up all their tracks.” It makes sense, but it seems like a mashup of “They covered their tracks” and “They cleaned up their mess.”

  35. Peter H says:

    The host of the “Total Running Productions” YouTube channel said this one in a recent video about the new Men’s 3000m world record: “…these record-breaking performances come from the 1980s and also the 1990s, two decades that were slam-packed with steroid controversy.”

    Most likely a mashup of “slammed” meaning “to be criticized for something” and “jam-packed” meaning “full of”.

  36. William Riley says:

    During a performance review, I had a manager tell me that I was getting myself onto a “sticky slope” when describing an overly complicated process I was going to put into place for following up on some delegated tasks. A combination of “sticky situation” and slippery slope”, the imagery of me trudging up a “sticky slope” towards accountability was enough for the rethink the process.

  37. margaret grover says:

    Spotted malaphor in a novel called The Call of Cassandra Rose, Kindle Ebook edition :

    “Had I given him the green flag to play away from home?” Thought by main character worried about her husband having an affair.

  38. Mike Daughtry says:

    I think I knew a Dave Hatfield at OHA, SSA long ago who went to law school at George Mason. I worked there after Vietnam and getting a J.D., but got bored with it and went on to pursue my true love (stock investing) and become affluent. I remember a master of twisted lingo there named Bill Scanlon who spoke of things like “three-vested suits” and such.

    • davemalaphor says:

      Mike, I am indeed the guy down the hall in the Webb Building you worked with all those many years ago. I remember our many conversations about work and life, but it sounds like I should have steered the conversation towards investments! Hope you are doing well. Fond memories of you. I remember you being the sharpest light bulb in the room. And yes, I started collecting malaphors as a result of Bill Scanlon. I discuss it all in my book, He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available on Amazon. Dave

      • mike says:

        Wow, blast from the past! I remember Webb Bldg and hoops down at TJ. Once visited Gunston Hall, Mason’s casa. My h school had a contest with hypothetical stock ownership and I never got over it. When I began buying PCs, it finally penetrated my thick skull that I should also be buying tech stocks. Sat near Joe Nixon in a DAO/OAO branch (Dowgiello sp? was the branch chief, later like you on AC?) and all we did was talk stocks — shoulda fired us both! Still shoot baskets now and then and hike or jog 3 miles a day. In that mini pic you look healthy and fit so hope life is treating ya well. Do have an Amazon acct and will buy the book Believe “Ban Lon Scanlon” died of renal carcinoma? Best regard, Mike

      • davemalaphor says:

        Yes, Bill did pass away but I was not aware of the cause. We actually referred to his mental mixups as “Scanlonisms”. I remember at a golf outing we were pairing up people for teams and there was an extra person so we were not sure which foursome he should join. Bill said, “let’s draw hats.”

  39. Barry Eigen says:

    We’re watching old Columbos from time to time. In last night’s episode (season 2, episode 2), Columbo got a rescue dog, which he left in the car with the windows closed. When he came back to the car, a little girl berated him for not leaving the windows open a crack. Columbo said he was sorry because it was his first dog and “I haven’t gotten onto the ropes yet.” A mashup of at least “I haven’t learned the ropes” and “I haven’t gotten the hang of it.” Somewhere in there could be “cottoned on to,” I guess.

  40. Fred Martin says:

    Just heard on “The Five” at 5:50. Greg Guttfeld referring to New Jersey becoming a sister to city in a fake country. He referred to them as “not the brightest tool in the shed”

  41. verbatim says:

    “His mouth shot him in the foot”

    Commentator talking about a politician who undermines himself by saying inopportune things.

    Seems like this could be a combination of several things:
    “put his foot in his mouth” – “say something stupid, (usually at a critical time)”
    “shoot oneself in the foot” – “undermine ones own credibility”
    “run off at the mouth” – “talk too much”
    “run ones mouth” – another variation of “talk too much”
    “mouth off” – “talk too much” or “be sassy”

    • davemalaphor says:

      Do you know where you heard this and who the commentator was?

      • verbatim says:

        It was on the radio. I apologize, but that’s all I can remember.

        I am so busy with work and the food bank I volunteer with, I only remember hearing it and immediately knowing I had to get it to you.

  42. curioussteph says:

    I just did this one myself. Eight thirty, plus or give fifteen minutes. The mixup between plus or minus and give or take. Cheers!

  43. Barry Eigen says:

    Here’s one my wife uttered last night, talking about a married couple we know, where the husband does pretty much whatever his wife wants even when he doesn’t want to: “She’s driving the show.” It’s clearly a mashup of “running the show” and something. I think that my wife might have had something like “in the driver’s seat” in the back of her mind. What do you think?

  44. davemalaphor says:

    Yes, in the driver’s seat seems right given the context. Also maybe “the driving force”?

  45. Barry Eigen says:

    I read today in a sentence/paragraph in USA Today, the malaphor, “flex their influence,” a combination of “flex their muscles” and “use their influence.” Here’s the entire quote: “But there are senators on both sides of the aisle who have taken issue with parts of the Biden-McCarthy deal who will want to flex their influence even as the country tiptoes to an unprecedented financial cliff.”

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