We barely scratched the tip of the iceberg

This congruent malaphor is a mix of “barely scratching the surface” and “tip of the iceberg”,  both referring to the beginning of a much larger issue or problem.   Here is an example

in context:

In closing, the recession is hard but that is not to say that survival is impossible, but you will have to be more creative with your money especially if you are a family at a budget. Of course, these tips only scratched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to financial planning and frugality. If you’ve already done these tips and are finding you need additional help, then never underestimate the power of a reasonable and well-thought-out budget. (from the article, Top 5 Ways for families to survive the Recession – http://voices.yahoo.com/top-5-ways-families-survive-recession-8644177.html?cat=25).

English: Iceberg around Cape York, Greenland

English: Iceberg around Cape York, Greenland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I can’t put my foot on it

I read this one in the local paper (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) yesterday.  In responding to a question as to why he has been pitching so poorly since the All star break, James McDonald of the Pittsburgh Pirates said, “I can’t put my foot on it yet”.  This malaphor is a combo of “can’t put my finger on it” and “putting my foot down”.  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Let’s roll up our elbows and get to work

This one is a mash-up of “roll up your sleeves” and “elbow grease”, both idioms describing working hard.  Rolling up the elbows fuses those idioms together very nicely and describes applying oneself to the task at hand perhaps better and certainly more succinctly!  By the way, this is another one of the master’s gems.


He did it at the drop of a dime

Pretty straightforward malaphor?  Seems like a combination of “do at the drop of a hat” and “he dropped the dime”.   Very different meanings, but the word “drop” apparently led the speaker to think “dime” instead of “hat” (alliteration perhaps?) and thus another  malaphor was born.


We missed our door of opportunity

At first blush, this one sounds right, but on further inspection, the speaker has apparently blended “window of opportunity” with “when one door closes, another door opens” (or maybe “open door policy”?).  The resulting malaphor certainly makes sense as a window and a door are both openings and both idioms convey similar meanings.    Less verbiage is always a good thing (you can quote me on that).


Spur of the minute

I heard this from “the master” several times.  He was never one to do things spontaneously, so I thought this malaphor expressed his actual feelings.  This classic mixes “spur of the moment” with “in a minute”, implying perhaps a bit of hesitancy to a potential spontaneous action?