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 –


That was a breath of relief!

Cover of "Um. . .: Slips, Stumbles, and V...

Cover via Amazon

This apparently common mash-up (hundreds of hits on google) of “breathe a sigh of relief” and “breath of fresh air” was found in the Michigan Quarterly article referred in “Articles” on my website and also in Michael Erard’s book, “Um. . .: Slips, Stumbles, and Verbal Blunders, and What They Mean.”