They need laser-sharp focus

A commentator uttered this one during the New Zealand/Argentina Womens’ Field Hockey Olympics game. This is a congruent conflation of “laser focus” and “razor-sharp”, both meaning to be particularly clear and focused. Laser and razor rhyme and both indicate cutting, probably contributing to the mashup. A big thanks Zoe Danger for hearing his one and sending it in.

Lemmings running to their own slaughter

On CNN’s YouTube channel there’s a clip entitled ‘Ex-Fox Reporter Reveals Why Tucker Carlson Is Lying About Vaccines’. At the 1:50 mark guest Carl Cameron remarks, “This is literally the metaphor of the lemmings running to their own slaughter”. Here is the clip:

This is a great congruent conflation of “like lemmings to the sea/running off a cliff” and “‘like a lamb to the slaughter”’, both meaning people going innocently and helplessly, without realizing the danger. A tip of the hat to Torre Thompson for spotting this gem. As Torre says, “either way, you’re left with a bunch of dead lemmings.” ‘Nuff said.

It pushed him over the line

This line appears near the end of the movie, “Psycho”. The psychiatrist is describing Norman’s dminished mental state and when his mother had an affair “it pushed him over the line”. This is a mashup of “push (one) over the edge” (cause one to commit someone to doing something they had been considering for a long time) and “cross/over the line” (to cross some threshold into unacceptable behavior). Great catch from Vicki Kovacs.

I’m falling behind my eight-game, Part 2

I received a ton of responses to this one (well, three but that’s a “ton” in malaphor world), telling me I missed the most obvious conflation: “behind the eight ball” and “(not) on (one’s) A-game” (not performing at the highest level). Exactly! As Bruce Ryan pointed out, “eight” and “a” is a good example of a homophone (two words that sound alike but have different meanings). This clearly caused the malaphor here. A big thanks to Bruce, Yvonne Stam, and John Costello for pointing this out.

I’m falling behind my eight-game.

After being sick, a son was telling his mom he had a lot of school work to make up, and that he was falling behind his eight-game. This is a rare trifecta malaphor, combining “falling behind” (not be as current with a task as one would want), “off (one’s) game” (unable to perform as well as usual) and “behind the eight ball” (in a challenging situation). The speaker was probably just wanting to say “falling behind” but the word “behind” may have prompted the “eight ball” idiom, in turn conjuring up the “game” of pool. Just a guess. A big thanks to Mary Marshall for hearing this one and passing it on!

My Interview with Kinfolk magazine

Top of the notch reading!

Mixed Metaphors

I need to step on my game

Believe it or not, we have another malaphor from the tv show “7 Little Johnstons”. Daughter Emma is talking about rock climbing as a form of training to improve her performance as a cheerleader. This is a nice congruent conflation of “step up (one’s) game” (to improve in some way) and “on (one’s) game” (playing well). Game is the operative word here. A big thanks to Mike Kovacs for hearing this one and sending it in.

Airbrushed under the carpet

Two women were talking about some controversy in pop culture and this was overheard. It’s a nice mashup of “airbrushed“ (to whitewash or obfuscate) and “brushed under the carpet” (to ignore or conceal something that is embarrassing or damaging to one’s reputation). Both phrases are similar in meaning, almost making a congruent conflation. A big thanks to Verbatim for hearing this one and sending it in.

Over the rails

ABC’s Martha Raddatz reporting on the upcoming Biden-Putin summit: “if they can come out together, if it doesn’t go out over the rails, that is some sign of success”. This is a congruent conflation of “off the rails” and “over the edge” both meaning to be out of control or excessive. A big thank you to Steve Grieme for hearing this one!

Just wanted to check base

A daughter was texting her father to see how things were going and said she just wanted to check base. This is a nice congruent conflation of “touch base” and “check in”, both meaning to make contact or renew communications with someone. Baseball pitchers also do this. A tip of the hat to John Kooser for submitting this one!