This was heard on the tv show, The Bachelorette. Chris S. from New Orleans said he likes the way Michelle (The Bachelorette) is genuine and wears her heart on her shoulder.
Perhaps this is just an anatomical goof, or a N’awlins phrase, but I think it’s a mashup of “wear (one’s) heart on “one’s) sleeve” (feelings are obvious to everyone around you) and “a chip on (one’s) shoulder” (a bad attitude that tends to get someone really upset). It’s possible that “have a good head on one’s shoulders” (intelligent) might be in the mix, with the speaker confusing head and heart. Maybe he was conjuring up the image of an angel on one’s shoulder, whispering good thoughts.
A big thanks to Karen MacDonald for hearing this one and sending it in!
A friend was describing another friend who gets things done ahead of schedule. She said that “no moss grows under her feet”. This is a nice mashup of “a rolling stone gathers no moss”(a person who wanders or travels often and will not be burdened by attachments. This phrase can be used as a negative (to suggest that such a person won’t find a fulfilling place in life) or as a positive (to suggest that they will have a more interesting and unpredictable life), and “don’t let the grass grow under your feet” (be continually active; act now). “Grass” and “moss” are the culprits here, as well as the two phrases referring to someone taking action and doing something. This one was submitted several years ago, but I thought it was good enough to repeat. https://malaphors.com/2014/12/19/dont-let-any-moss-grow-under-your-feet/
A big thank you to Jan Smith for unintentionally uttering this one and Paula Garrety for sending it in.
This one was heard on a news broadcast. It is a nice congruent conflation of “on the fly” and “off the cuff”, both meaning to say or do something quickly and informally, without thought or preparation. The word “cuff” is in several idioms, and so is the source for many malaphors. See my website for some other examples, including “shoots from the cuff”, “off the top of my cuff”, and “off the cuff of my head”. https://malaphors.com/2013/08/19/off-the-cuff-of-my-head/ https://malaphors.com/2018/04/28/trump-shoots-off-the-cuff/ https://malaphors.com/2012/09/16/he-said-it-off-the-top-of-his-cuff/
A shout out to Mike Kovacs for hearing this one and contributing to the “cuff section” of the website.
This one breaks one of my malaphor rules but I had to post it anyway. As followers know, a malaphor should be unintentionally spoken or written; made up ones don’t count as they are not really word “errors”, plus they are just not usually funny. However, this one, that comes from the HBO show Barry, is perfectly formed and too good to pass up. In Season 2, Episode 3, Barry’s former controller, Monroe Fuches, is wearing a wire and practicing a conversation he will have with Barry to get him to talk. Police express doubts and Monroe says”give me five minutes with him. I’ll have him shitting in my hand”. This is a mashup of “eating out of (one’s) hand” (to be completely accepting of whatever one says or requires) and “shitting bricks” (extremely nervous). Fuches is of course nervous about the whole affair but thinks he will get Barry to talk. A big thanks to Jonathan Eliot for hearing this one and sending it in!
This is a subtle congruent conflation of “open (one’s) mind” and “broaden/expand (one’s) horizon”, both meaning to become receptive to or to consider something, such as a new topic. A big thanks to Kevin Hatfield for his keen ears in hearing this one and passing it on.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-D) was talking about the new major spending bills in Congress on the Rachel Maddow show (9/30/21). She said that what she is afraid of is that the infrastructure bill will be voted on and then Congress will leave the Build Back America bill out to dry. You can hear this around minute 37:
This is a mashup of “hang (one) out to dry” (abandon someone) and “leave (one) high and dry” (leave someone in a difficult situation which you are unable to do anything about). Both idioms have the word “dry” in them and both describe abandonment. A big thanks to Frank King who heard this one and passed it on.
Richard Ojeda, a guest on the show, Real Time with Bill Maher (9/24/21), was on a panel discussing the national debt and U.S. tax laws and said this:
“The problem is that the filthy, filthy rich in this country can pay for lobbyists to grease the pockets of our legislators to make sure that they’re protected while the rest of the people—and the working class people—have everything stuck on their friggin’ shoulders.”
This is a congruent conflation of “line (one’s) pockets” and “grease (someone’s) palm”, both referring to making money in a dishonest or greedy fashion. Reminds me of another malaphor, “He’s feathering his own pockets”. https://malaphors.com/2012/09/02/hes-feathering-his-own-pockets/ A shout out to Mike Kovacs for hearing this one and sending it in!
In season 2, episode 3 of The Sopranos, 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.” This is a congruent conflation of “cut (one) a break” and “did (one) a favor”, both meaning to do something that makes a situation easier for someone else. My guess is that Tony was thinking of literally cutting up someone. Not sure, but The Sopranos is a treasure trove of malaphors. I devoted a whole section to them in my book, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”. Some of the best are “We’re in a f**king stagmire”, “keep your eyes on the tiger”, and my favorite, “we have a few dark sheep in the family”. https://malaphors.com/2013/07/02/we-have-a-few-dark-sheep-in-the-family/
Props to Barry Eigen for hearing this one and sending it in. I will add it to the Sopranos section!. Barry also noted that the syntax of this malaphor reminded him when hewas kid growing up in NYC. He would call up to his mother (on the 4th floor of an apartment building): “Throw me out the window a ball.” No defenestration there of course.
Rachel Maddow last night was talking about the Republican efforts to “audit” the 2020 election in some states. She revealed there is dark money supporting these efforts. At 9:44 pm EST (9/14/21 show) she said:
“And while we`re at it let`s peek behind the hood of this document, look at the metadata for this PDF, this letter and this sort of bogus letterhead on the top demanding the preservation of records by the county clerks.”
This is a congruent conflation of “peek behind the curtain” and “look under the hood”, both meaning to investigate or examine more closely. A big thank you to Frank King who heard this one and sent it in.
The speaker was talking about a friend who occasionally irritates her. This is a nice mashup of “getting under my skin” (becoming a source of irritation) and “sticking in my craw” (to cause considerable resentment, rankle). Both phrases involve something or someone causing anger in another.
So what’s a craw?
A craw is the crop of a bird or insect, the transferred sense of the word to refer to a person’s gullet (Free Dictionary). A tip of the hat to Paula Garrety for hearing this one.