First off the bat

Chris Hayes from MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes utters this one at the 1:40 mark:

This is a mashup of “first off” (first of all, before anything else) and “right off the bat” (immediately). “Right off the bat” seems to be an idiom that is mixed quite often. See, for example, and The mind is going batty with these malaphors. A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one and sending it in!

tighten the gap

Chris Hayes said this one on his MSNBC show on 9/1. discussing the Presidential race.  “It is possible for Donald Trump to tighten the gap…”  This is a congruent conflation of “narrow the gap” and “tighten the race”, both meaning to make closer.  A tip of the toque to Frank King for hearing this subtle one.

We stemmed that curve

This is another “curve” malaphor brought to you by Frank King.  His last one was “we turned the curve”, heard on the MSNBC show “All In with Chris Hayes.
This one was also heard on the same show, this time from Harris County (Texas) Judge Lina Hidalgo.  It is a congruent conflation of  “stem the tide” and “flatten the curve”, both meaning to stop the course of a trend or tendency.  You can hear this one on the Monday night, July 6, 2020 show.  It does not seem that the malaphor curve will ever be stemmed.  Another tip of the hat to Frank King for hearing this one.
Please do not stem the curve of the rising sales of my latest malaphor book, “Things Are Not Rosy-Dory”: Malaphors From Politicians and Pundits.”  It’s available NOW on Amazon. Click this link to purchase:

We turned the curve

LaToya Cantrell, mayor of New Orleans, was discussing police actions and public safety on the MSNBC show, “All In with Chris Hayes”.  This is a mashup of “turned the corner” (begun to have improvement or success after a difficult or troubling period) and “ahead of the curve” (better than average).  Both idioms are about success or improvement.  Although the topic was not about the pandemic, “flatten the curve” (slowing down the spread of a disease) was probably on the speaker’s mind as well.  A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one.  You can hear this malaphor at approximately 16 minutes into the show:

I’m worried stiff

Heard on the MSNBC show with Chris Hayes.  This is a conflation of “scared stiff” (utterly terrified) and “worried sick” (very concerned about a person or situation).  I have heard this one a lot.  “Sick” and “stiff” are similar sounding words, contributing to the mashup.  A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one!

If you liked this one, check out my book on malaphors, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”.  It’s available on Amazon for a cheap $7.99.  Just click on the link –

We will be able to put all the dots in a row

Jackie Speier (D-CA) uttered this nice malaphor on the All In with Chris Hayes show on MSNBC (11/28/18).  Here is the context:  “and I have no doubt in my mind that we will at some point, when the Mueller investigation is over, be able to put all the dots in a row and draw a line through them.”  This is a congruent conflation of “get your ducks in a row” (organize your affairs) and “connect the dots” (to understand something by piecing together bits of information).  “Dots” and “ducks” sound alike and the idea of connecting dots is similar to a row.  A big thanks to Mike Kovacs for hearing this one.

The fish stinks from the head

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) uttered this on the Chris Hayes show (Ali Velshi filling in) the other night, referring to Trump.  She said, “The Italians have an expression ‘the fish stinks from the head’.”  Well, actually, the expression is “the fish rots from the head down”, meaning bad leaders damage an organization, and her comment mixes the idiom  “stink to high heaven”, meaning to be or seem extremely corrupt or disreputable.  Rotting sure gives off a stink so it is understandable that the speaker got confused.  Another big thank you to Frank King, our MSNBC Malaphor Reporter.

Today he evened out the scales

This was uttered by Julia Ainsley on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes show.  She was referring to Manafort’s lawyer cross-examining Rick Gates.  It is a mashup of three idioms:  “even out” (to make something more balanced), “even the score” (avenge a wrong), and “balance the scales” (to make even).  A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one and sending it in.

He passed every hurdle to receive asylum

This was heard on the MSNBC Chris Hayes show.  It is a nice congruent conflation of “cleared every hurdle” and “passed every test”.   A big thanks to “Eagle-Ear” Frank King for hearing this one.  He also mentioned that you don’t get credit for passing a hurdle, or for clearing a test.  Word.

Let’s not get ahead of our skis

Senator Cory Booker uttered this malaphor on MSNBC’s The Chris Hayes Show.  He was talking about the Mueller investigation:

“Um, look, I’m one of those folks that says let’s go where the evidence leads,” he said. “Right now we have a special counsel that is doing a thorough investigation. Let’s not get ahead of our skis. Let’s make sure we support this special counsel’s investigation.”

This is a mixture of “out over his skis” (get ahead of yourself) and “ahead of the curve” (leading in something).  The two phrases are close in meaning and are both referring to leading in front.  It appears the phrase “out over your skis” originated in the finance world.  See this article for more on the origin:

A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one and passing it on!