Followers of malaphors know that a malaphor can be a word blend as well as an idiom blend (see the many word blends posted on this site by typing in “word blend”). This one made national news. Mehmet Oz, the Republican candidate for the United States Senate representing Pennsylvania, posted a video about shopping at “Wegners”. He clearly says Wegners in the video. However, he was in Redner’s, a grocery chain in Eastern Pennsylvania. He was confusing the store with Wegmans, another grocery chain found in Eastern Pennsylvania, creating the word blend Wegners.. Here is the video:

The word blend has gone viral, with postings from the fake grocery store Wegners. His opponent, John Fetterman, has capitalized on the goof:

This is not a portmanteau. Here’s the difference.

A portmanteau is a combination of two (or more) words or morphemes, and their definitions, into one new word. A portmanteau word generally combines both sounds and meanings, as in smog, coined by blending smoke and fog. More generally, it may refer to any term or phrase that combines two or more meanings, for instance, the term “wurly” when describing hair that is both wavy and curly.

The word “portmanteau” was first used in this context by Lewis Carroll in the book Through the Looking-Glass (1871), in which Humpty Dumpty explains to Alice the coinage of the unusual words in Jabberwocky, where “slithy” means “lithe and slimy” and “mimsy” is “flimsy and miserable”. Humpty Dumpty explains the practice of combining words in various ways by telling Alice,

‘You see it’s like a portmanteau—there are two meanings packed up into one word.’

My single word blend malaphors are unconscious blends of words to make an unintentional new word. The word sounds or looks correct at first blush, but then on closer examination is incorrect. Examples so far on my website are “Buckminster Palace” (Buckingham and Westminster, and/or possibly Buckminster Fuller) and “split-minute decision” (split second and last minute).

He hasn’t been through the rodeo

Host Harvey Levin of TMZ was talking about Britney Spears’ husband, Sam Asghari, and his inexperience with the celebrity spotlight. Levin said, “and the current husband, kind of young, maybe kind of hasn’t been through the rodeo”. This is a mashup of “be put through the wringer” (subjected to some ordeal or difficulty) and “not (one’s) first rodeo” (one is experienced in a certain situation). In this case, the speaker was thinking of “his first rodeo” (inexperienced).

A big thanks to Vicki Kovacs for hearing this one!

He turned a lot of eyes

Jeff Hathorn on the Pittsburgh sports radio show 93.7 The Fan was talking about Pittsburgh Steeler rookies who were sensations in training camp. He then said Plaxico Burress “turned a lot of eyes”. This is a congruent conflation of “turned a lot of heads” and “opened a lot of eyes”, both meaning to attract a great deal of attention.

A big thank you to John Kooser for hearing this one and sending it in!

Am I flirting with fire?

A couple were making breakfast and she was playfully pushing his buttons. He told her to watch her step, and she responded with this nice alliterative malaphor. It is a congruent conflation of “flirting with disaster” and “playing with fire”, both meaning to take part in a dangerous undertaking.

A tip of the hat to Adam Jacob for hearing this one and sending it in.

I’m jumping at the gun

This malaphor occurred during a conversation about airline prices. The speaker indicated that the prices are only going to go up, so she was “jumping at the gun”. This is a mashup of “jumping the gun” (start doing something too soon) and “jumping at the chance” (to seize an opportunity). “Jumping” is the tie that binds this conflation. A big thank you to Elaine Hatfield for hearing this one.

If we just wash this under the rug

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois) on MSNBC was talking about why the January 6 hearings are important and that the events on January 6 cannot be forgotten. Here’s the clip:

This is a triple congruent conflation of “swept under the rug”, “wash (one’s) hands (of a matter)” and “white wash (something)”, all meaning to avoid discussing or dealing with something. A big thanks to Mike Kovacs for hearing this one and sending it in, clip and all.

Did you like this malaphor? If so, check out my book on malaphors uttered by politicians and pundits entitled “Things are Not Rosy-Dory”, available on Amazon! Makes a great bathroom read. Here’s the link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08C7GGMG5?ref_=pe_3052080_397514860

I’d like to come look under the tires

A company was in need of a new piece of industrial equipment for the business. The boss decided he needed to get an in depth tour of the equipment as it is pretty expensive, so he says to the representative: “I’d like to come look under the tires”.

This is a nice congruent conflation of “look under the hood” and “kick the tires”, both meaning to inspect or examine something a little more in depth. Both expressions deal with cars, probably contributing to the mental mixup. A big thanks to Verbatim for hearing this one and sending it in!

He knocked it out of the water

Ronny Jackson, a former White House doctor, insists that Donald Trump is very healthy. In an interview, Jackson said:

“He was in great shape. I put him on the treadmill and did a cardiac stress test on him,” Jackson said.” He knocked it out of the water. I mean, he was in the top 10% of everyone his age.”


This is a mashup of “knocked it out of the park” (to do something extraordinarily well) and “blow (somebody/something) out of the water” (to defeat or ruin something or someone). It is a variation of a previous malaphor posting, “blew it out of the park”. https://malaphors.com/2012/10/27/they-blew-it-out-of-the-park/

A tip of the hat to Lou Pugliese for spotting this one and sending it in!

That boat has flown

Hulk Hogan uttered this one on the Joe Rogan podcast: “well, Joe, that boat has flown.” This is a conflation of  “that ship has sailed” (some possiblity ot option is no longer available or likely) and “fly the coop” (to leave or escape (something)). “Float (one’s) boat” (to make someone happy) might also be in the mix, as “flown” and “float” are similar sounding. This malaphor is very similar to my 3/2/21 post, “That ship has flown”. https://malaphors.com/2021/03/02/that-ship-has-flown/. It is also similar to the Austin Powers’ malaphor I posted a few years ago: “That train has sailed.” https://malaphors.com/2015/11/13/that-train-has-sailed/ Transportation mixups I suppose.

A big thanks to Jack Chandler who heard this one and sent it in!

He nailed himself to his own petard

A podcaster was alleging that a possible 2024 candidate had already ruined his chances of getting into the race by making certain statements, and that “he nailed himself to his own petard”. This appears to be a mashup of “hoisted by (one’s) own petard” (to be injured or defeated by one’s own actions) and “nailed to a cross” (severely punished).

Interestingly, “petards” were metal balls filled with gunpowder which were used to blow up walls and gates. The gunpowder was lit by a slow-burning fuse, but there was always a danger that the device would explode too soon and “hoist” the person lighting it, that is, blow them up in the air. The phrase is from Shakespeare’s Hamlet: ‘For ’tis the sport to have the enginer Hoist with his own petard

A big thank you to Verbatim for hearing this one and sending it in.