The speaker uttered this one and then realized a few minutes later he had spoken a perfect malaphor. This is a conflation of “leave (one) hanging” (keep someone in suspense) and “hang (one) out to dry” (to desert in a troubling situation). Certainly you leave clothes out to dry on a nice sunny day so perhaps the speaker had this visual in his mind. A tip of the hat to Dan Obergfell for not only sharing this one but saying it as well!
This was heard in an administrative hearing. It is a conflation of “walking on eggshells” (to act with great care so as not to upset someone) and I think “live in a glass house” (be susceptible to judgment or criticism). Eggshells and glass are both very fragile, and I think the speaker was thinking of both. “Living on the edge” (doing something daring or bold) might also be in the mix, with an eggshell (Humpty-Dumpty?) sitting on the edge of a wall. Any other thoughts? A big thanks to Sam Edelmann who heard this one and passed it on.
This one was heard on 710 WOR in New York City. It appears to be a combo of “in the eye of the beholder” (subjective appreciation made by an individual viewer) and “in (one’s) mind’s eye” (in one’s imagination). “Mind” and “eye” are similar sounding words. A big thanks to Verbatim for hearing this one and sending it in.
This amazing malaphor was uttered by Donald Trump, on his reaction to Bill Barr’s performance as Attorney General and how Barr has handled the Mueller Report.
“Attorney General Barr is going to be giving a press conference and maybe I’ll do one after that, we’ll see. But he’s been a fantastic attorney general. He’s grabbed it by the horns,” Trump said.
It is a mashup of “grab the bull by the horns” (take control of a difficult situation) and Trump’s own expression, “grab ’em by the p***y” (stating that since he is rich and powerful he can do anything he wants with women). Given the speaker, it is probably a good bet that the latter expression was floating in his mind when he uttered this malaphor. Perhaps the word “horns” triggered the mix up? A big thanks to Mike Kovacs for hearing this gem and realizing it was a genuine malaphor. Excellent work, Mike. Keep those ears open.
This was uttered on a sports radio show (of course). The speaker was talking about Tom Izzo and his rant at his players during the NCAA tournament. It is a nice mashup of “browbeat (someone) into (something)” (bully or initmidate) and “beat (someone) over the head (with a fact or opinion)” (emphasize or repeat something strongly). The word “browbeat” originally (1580s?) meant “to bear down with stern or arrogant looks,” and later became a term used for “bullying”. A big thanks to John Kooser for hearing this one.
University of Virginia basketball guard Kyle Guy was remarking on the 42 point performance of Carsen Edwards of Purdue, even though Purdue lost. This is a brilliant mashup of “hang (one’s) head” (express shame or contrition) and “hang (one’s) hat on (something)” (depend or rely on something). “Hang” is in both expressions and “head” and “hat” are similar sounding and visually close. A big thanks to Tom Justice for hearing this one. Wahoowa!