Pick your life up by the bootstraps

This was unintentionally uttered by Caroline Carleton.  I think it is a triple congruent conflation of “pull yourself up by the boot straps”, “make something of your life”, and “pick yourself up”, all meaning to improve by one’s own efforts.  This might be the first congruent conflation trifecta posted.  “Pulling oneself up by the bootstraps” refers to pulling on high boots by means of the straps or loops attached to them at the top. Origin of the expression is early 1900s.  A big thanks to Caroline Carleton for sharing this one.


It’s coming down the horizon

This was overheard at a meeting.  It’s a perfectly formed congruent conflation of “on the horizon” and “coming down the pike”, both meaning in the future or about to materialize.   Many thanks to Susan Edwards for hearing this gem and passing it on.

It blew me off of my feet

This very well-formed malaphor was uttered on the HGTV show, Good Bones. “I really didn’t know what to expect.  It blew me off of my feet.”  It is a congruent conflation (the best kind of malaphors, in my opinion) of “knocked me off my feet” and “it blew me away”, both meaning to cause someone great pleasure or surprise.  Certainly a strong wind might blow one off one’s feet, but they stand a better chance of staying put if they have “good bones”.  A tip of the hat to David Stephens for hearing this one and sending it in!

It’s as easy as cake

This is a perfect congruent conflation of “easy as pie” and “it’s a piece of cake”, both meaning a very easy task or accomplishment.  Cakes and pies seem to be easily muddled in one’s mind, as can be seen in earlier posts containing pies and cakes (see, e.g, and  “It’s a cakewalk” might also be in the mix, again meaning something easy.  A tip of the hat to John Kooser for uttering this one and immediately sending it in! (malaphor rule #1 is write it down immediately after hearing or saying the malaphor as you will quickly forget it).

They waited until the eleventh minute

I promise you I don’t make these up.  This was uttered in an administrative law judge hearing by the judge, exasperated by counsel’s not submitting evidence until the day of the hearing.  It is a nice congruent conflation of  “at the eleventh hour” and “at the last minute”, both meaning doing something at the last possible moment or opportunity.  Confusing hours and minutes can be common when you are dealing with cases all day, and a massive docket.  Or perhaps the judge is just a little particular.   A shout out to Sam Edelmann who heard this one and passed it on!

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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!

It’s not a cake in the walk

A coworker left instructions to a friend for a difficult work task, and another coworker uttered this nice mixed idiom.  It is a congruent conflation (the best kind of malaphor) of “a walk in the park” and “cakewalk”, both describing something that is easy to do or accomplish.  Just be sure to not let the cake out in the rain.  A big thanks to Josh Berry for hearing this one and passing it on!

If you want an entire book of malaphors, it’s easy to get!  Just go to Amazon and type “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”.  It’s a cake in the walk.  And cheap.