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The President is having to deal with a den of vipers

This one was uttered by an evangelical Trump supporter.  It is a congruent conflation of “a nest of vipers” and “a den of thieves”, both meaning a group of individuals suspected of underhanded dealings.  “Den of iniquity” (a lot of immoral things happen there) might be in the mix, but I doubt it.  “Waliking into the lions’ den” (place yourself in a dangerous situation) certainly is in play given the context and its Biblical roots.  Here is the article where the malaphor is found:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/08/14/evangelicals-view-trump-their-protector-will-they-stand-by-him/?wpisrc=nl_rainbow&wpmm=1

A big thanks to Barry Eigen for spotting this one!

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I’m going to hang low at home today

The speaker was not feeling well and uttered this nice mixup.  It is a conflation of “hang out” (to engage in some some frivolous time wasting) and “lay low” (to be hidden or inconspicuous).  “Feeling low” (feeling ill or sad) is probably also in the mix, considering the context.   A big thanks to David Barnes for hearing this one and passing it on.


They were running up a dead tree

A National Public Radio (NPR) correspondent was talking about a failed strategy.  This is a triple mashup of “barking up the wrong tree” (to attempt a futile course of action), “running on empty” (out of resources or in this case ideas), and “beating a dead horse” (continue to pursue something that cannot be done).  All three idioms involve futile or wasted attempts.  “Dead in the water” (completely defunct) might also be in the mix given the context.  That would make this a quad malaphor, something rarely seen or heard.  A big thanks to David Barnes for spotting this beauty.


It’s not number one on the burner

The Malaphorer in Chief, Donald Trump, uttered this beauty when he was discussing his idea to purchase Greenland.  “It’s not number one on the burner, I can tell you that.”  This is a congruent conflation of “not number one on the list” and “not on the front burner”, both meaning not a high priority.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/kudlow-says-white-house-is-looking-at-trying-to-buy-greenland/2019/08/18/ab367b6c-c1bb-11e9-b5e4-54aa56d5b7ce_story.html.

This one was heard by several loyal malaphor followers, including Barry Eigen, Donna Calvert, and Frank King.  This Trump malaphor is not the first.  Check my book out, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors” (available on Amazon) for more mashups from him.  There are also many more on this blog.  Search “Trump”.


They put me through hoops and ladders

A baker was referring to the health department inspection and uttered this mixup.  It is a conflation of “”jump through hoops” (force someone to face challenges) and “put (someone) through the wringer” (force someone to endure harsh criticism).  Both phrases involve requiring a person to do something, in this case a health department inspection, and both share the word “through”.  The speaker was also probably conjuring up in his mind the game “Chutes and Ladders”.  Kudos to Sam Edelmann who overheard this gem.

He flows with the wind

This was uttered by Congressman Max Rose (D-NY) on MSNBC’s Morning Joe show.  Rose was talking about efforts to pass gun legislation and he said, referring to Trump, “this President, I believe, has no inner core beliefs.  He flows with the wind.”  This is a congruent conflation of “goes with the flow” and “blows with the wind”, both meaning to act according to prevailing circumstances rather than a consistent plan.   “Blow” rhymes with “flow” which could have contributed to the mashup.  A shout out to Mike Kovacs for hearing this one and sending it in.  Picture suggested by Mike!


He’s walking on thin water

The speaker was talking about someone who needed to be careful.  This is a mashup of “walking on thin ice” (to proceed with caution or great care) and I think “in deep water” (an overwheming situation) because of the context.  However, “walk on water” (do something extraordinary or impossible) certainly should not be ruled out, as it is scrambled in the malaphor.  A shout out to David Stephens who heard this one.  David said that he recently slipped on a wet floor and broke his toe so this malaphor really resonated with him.

Did you like this malaphor?  Catch ’em all in my book, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available on Amazon for a cheap 7.99  It’s a perfect addition to your bathroom library.