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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.

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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.”  https://www.mediaite.com/tv/chris-hayes-comes-right-out-and-asks-it-in-interview-with-cory-booker-is-trump-a-criminal/

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: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2012/05/where-did-the-phrase-over-his-skis-come-from.html

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


The man is a nut cake

On MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes” show last night, former New Hampshire Senator Gordon Humphrey (R-NH) said Trump is a “nut cake”.  This is a congruent conflation of “nutcase” and “nutty as a fruitcake”, both obviously meaning to be crazy or insane.  Here is an excerpt from the transcript, courtesy of Breitbart News (trying to stay apolitical here):

In the common parlance, the man is a nut cake, he is a looney bird. And it would be the height of irresponsibility to elevate him to the presidency. It would be recklessness to make him commander in chief. I’ve issued a call to members of the RNC this afternoon to demand an emergency meeting of the Republican National Committee to strip Donald Trump of the nomination and to replace him with someone of sound mind.

http://www.breitbart.com/video/2016/08/09/fmr-nh-senator-trump/

As followers know, malaphors are spoken by all, including Republicans and Democrats.  Who can forget Obama’s excellent “my opponent would like you to think I am green behind the ears when it comes to foreign policy”, or Hillary Clinton’s recent “the creme de la resistance”?  A big thanks to Sam Edelmann who heard this one and passed it on to Malaphor Central.

gordon humphrey