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Even the playing field

This subtle congruent conflation was uttered by Jenna Bush Hager on the Today show.  It is a mashup of “level the playing field” and “even the odds”, both meaning to make a situation or activity more fair and balanced.  This one is heard often, as the two expressions have the same meaning and contain words that are synonyms – even and level.  A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one and sending it in.  Frank has the ears of a hawk when it comes to malaphors.  By the way, check out Frank’s website, http://www.themhcomedian.com/frank-king-speaking/.

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I’m getting a little punch-happy

This one was said at the end of a long day of meetings.  It’s a nice word blend congruent conflation of “punch-drunk” and “slap-happy”, both meaning to be dazed or giddy.  I really like this one, as it also can describe being drunk, as in drinking too much punch at a party.  Certainly a few artillery punches will make one very happy…. for awhile.   A shout out to Nate Shand for hearing this one and passing it on!


That’s the only breath of sunshine in this story

This gem was uttered in a college class by the professor.  He was discussing a bad strategy resulting in a 19th century army’s major defeat and noted one positive, followed by this malaphor.  It is a mash up of “a ray of sunshine”  (something that makes you feel hopeful) and “a breath of fresh air” (pleasantly new).  The mix up stems from two phrases that both relate to something positive and hopeful, but also are weather-related (sunshine, fresh air).   A big thanks to Forrest Morgan who was the speaker and contributor.  By the way, Forrest has just written a terrific book entitled “Waking the Snow Leopard”, an exciting thriller available on Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Waking-Snow-Leopard-Forrest-Morgan/dp/0997681705/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

waking-the-snow-leopard


It went to pot in a handbag

Yvonne Stam, a frequent contributor to this site, heard this gem from her sister, who was referring to children reaching middle school age.  It is a congruent conflation of “going to pot” and “going to hell in a handbasket”, both meaning declining or getting worse.  As Yvonne says, the speaker was probably confusing the word “handbasket” (surely an antique word) with handbag.  She also points out that “to hell in a handbag” is noted in Wikipedia as a common version.  This malaphor is similar to one I posted in 2012, “the project is going to pot in a handbasket” (https://malaphors.com/2012/09/15/the-project-is-going-to-pot-in-a-handbasket/) which was uttered in the 70s.  Perhaps handbaskets were more common then.  Pot was, that’s for sure.

A big thanks to Yvonne Stam for hearing this one and sending it in!

pot in a handbag


The last book I read was a real page burner

This congruent malaphor is a mash up of “page turner” and “barn burner”, both meaning something very exciting.   I like this one as it seems to stand on its own, describing a book that is so compelling that you seem to “burn” through it.    Then again,  it could mean something totally different for those fascist minded folks out there….