Those politicians are just a crowd of gravy diggers

This one was overheard recently from malaphor follower Pat Mattimoe.  Pat says “this is what happens when the gold-diggers get on the gravy train.”  It’s a nice mashup of “gold digger” (a person who only pursues romantic relationships for financial gain) and “on the gravy train” (to be in a position of making lots of money without expending much effort).  Both phrases involve getting lots of money.  Perhaps the speaker had the monster truck jam tv commercial that always includes “Gravedigger!!”.  Who knows?  All I know it is an excellent malaphor.  Thanks Pat!


Let’s get all our ducks on the same page

This little ditty was overhead at a service desk.  It is a nice congruent conflation of “get your ducks in a row” and “get on the same page”, both meaning to get organized.  Phrases using ducks to get things organized seem to confuse folks a lot.  For example, I previously posted “she needs to get her ducks in order” (thanks to Matt Lauer for that one!) and “we need to get our ducks together” .  I’m not trying to be a wise quacker here.  Just pointing it out.  A big thanks to Carolyn Atkins for hearing this one and passing it on!

We’ll be buttoning down the hatches

Mayor Randall Henderson, Jr. Of Fort Myers, FL uttered this one on The Weather Channel as the city was bracing for hurricane Irma.  It is a nice mix up of “batten down the hatches”  (to prepare for a challenging situation) and “button up” (to close something, usually a space, securely).  One might argue that this is just a malaprop, confusing batten with button.  However, as Malaphor King, I determine that it is a malaphor.  The speaker might have been confusing up with down, and he was referring to the city needing to secure itself for the impending storm, hence the idea of buttoning up something.  A big thanks to Steve Kovacs for hearing this one and sending it in.

It’s dead as a cucumber

Chris Matthews from MSNBC was referring to the Graham-Cassidy Health Bill when he uttered this beauty.  He immediately realized his mistake and then said “dead as a door nail” but it was too late.  The malaphor is in the books.  It is a mashup of “dead as a door nail” (undoubtedly dead) and “cool as a cucumber” (extremely calm and in control of your emotions).  Certainly when you are dead you are pretty cool temperature-wise.  Perhaps this is what Mr. Matthews was thinking. I’m glad cucumbers are dead.  I still remember live tomatoes in the movie “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.”  A big thanks to “my ol’ pal” Beatrice Zablocki for hearing this one and passing it on quickly.

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Don’t count your eggs before you put the basket down

This sage piece of advice was given by the contributor’s ex.  It is a nice mashup of “don’t count your chickens before they hatch”  (don’t make plans based on future events that might not happen) and “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” (don’t focus all your attention one thing or area).  Both phrases start with “don’t” and both involve hens (chickens and eggs) so there is bound to be confusion.  Apparently after saying this he rationalized the phrase by noting some eggs may fall out or break as you’re putting the basket down.  This is true.  Thanks to Zozie for sharing this one!


You walk that balance

Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager Neil Huntington on his pregame show was asked how he can juggle playing to win vs giving inexperienced players a chance to play. He answered, “You walk that balance.”  This is a combo of “walk that fine (or thin) line”  (balance two competing ideas or groups) and “balance (something) against (something else)”, meaning to compare two things, typically one positive and one negative. in order to make a decision).  This is a subtle but excellent conflation, as the two ideas involve competing ideas.  Also, the speaker may have been thinking of gym class, walking the balance beam in gymnastics class.  A shout out to Bob Marchinetti for hearing this one.

That went over like a lead brick

This was overheard at a meeting.  It’s a nice mashup of the phrases “went over like a lead balloon” (to fail completely or go over badly) and I think “it hit me like a ton of bricks” (surprised or shocked).   “Drop a brick” (to announce a surprising bit of news) might also be in the mix.  And yes, lead bricks are manufactured – see

A big thank you to Jenny Hensley who dropped this one on me!