At the drop of a beat AND Hold the brakes

Double malaphor!! This is as rare as a double rainbow sighting.  Both of these malaphors were heard on one episode of the NBC show First Dates.  “At the drop of a beat” is a congruent conflation of “at the drop of a hat” and “in a heartbeat”, meaning to do something immediately.  Hat and heart might be the culprits here, and perhaps the speaker thinking of the slang phrase “dropping a beat”, meaning to play a beat.  See

“Hold the brakes” is another congruent conflation of “hit the brakes” and “hold your horses”, both meaning to stop something.  Hold and hit are probably the culprits in this mashup.  Outstanding work goes to Steve Grieme for hearing both of these, sending them in, and offering the above deconstruction of each phrase.  Steve is now given the official title of “Malaphor Man”.


We have to take the punches as they come

This malaphor was spoken by Jeremy Roloff on Season 10, Episode 2 of the TLC program “Little People, Big World.” He was referring to the challenge of eventually taking control of the family pumpkin farm and business in the face of his parents’ divorce.  I believe this is a congruent conflation of “roll with the punches”  and “take it as it comes”, both meaning to adjust to difficult events as they happen.  This gem was caught by the Vice President of Malaphor Hunters (ViPMaH) Mike Kovacs.  Thanks ViPMaH!

jeremy roloff

I have a beef to pick with you

Possibly the best congruent conflation to date, this beauty was heard by the now famous Malaphor Hunter, John Costello.  From my count this is his 11th contribution to the site.  It is a mash up of “have a beef” and “have a bone to pick”, both idioms meaning to have a complaint about something.  There are many causes for the unintentional conflation.  The obvious one is that the two phrases have the same meaning.  Also, bone and beef are four letter words, and are somewhat related (cattle have bones, many cuts of beef have bones). We cut our beef with knives (picks).

This malaphor was also uttered (intentionally) by Stephen Colbert when he interviewed Sir Paul McCartney in 2009:

“I have a beef to pick with you, sir, in that you don’t eat beef,” Colbert said.

Thanks to John Costello for hearing this one!

You better watch your P’s and cross your T’s

Excellent advice given by that legal malaphor utterer, Marykathryn Kopec.  She said this to her husband, warning him about submitting a Motion to a particularly picky Judge.  It is a congruent conflation of “mind/watch your P’s and Q’s” and “dot your I’s and cross your T’s”, both meaning to pay careful attention to small details.  This mash-up has a nice rhyming ring to it.  Thanks to Marykathryn for this one!

That money was pissed out the window

This is a congruent conflation of  “pissed away” and “thrown out the window”, both meaning something wasted or gone.  The context was some friends discussing wasted money.  A big thanks to Andy Wakshul for hearing this one and sending it in.  As he said, “You wouldn’t want to walk past that window when they were spending money.”  True dat.

This hits the ticket!

The speaker uttered this beauty after being served a very nice sandwich.  This is a great example of a congruent conflation – a type of malaphor mixing two or more phrases with the same or similar meaning.  “Hits the spot” and “just(that’s) the ticket” are in play here, both meaning to be exactly right.  The congruent conflated malaphors are particularly good, as they sound somewhat correct and evoke a mental double take.  A shout out to Marcia Riefer Johnston for hearing this one and passing it on.

That was a bunch of crock

My good buddy Deb Rose said this beauty last week, when she was describing an unbelievable statement from someone.  This is a congruent conflation of “a bunch of bull” and “a crock of s**t”, both meaning useless or false information.  This malaphor describes the double whammy of stupidity.  Please use it freely with my permission.

It’s nothing off his teeth

This was overheard recently at a court proceeding.  The speaker was stating that something was easy for her client.  I believe it is a congruent conflation of  “nothing to it”, and “no skin off his teeth (or nose)”, both meaning something that is not difficult.  Anyone see another idiom in this malaphor?  Certainly it can’t be said after eating a spinach pizza.   A big thanks to Sam Edelmann for sending this one in.

My mom won’t be down my butt

Let’s hope not.  The speaker was referring to her Mom bugging her about something, and was uttered by the Mistress of Malaphors, Naomi David.  It is a congruent conflation of “breathing down my neck” and “up my butt”, both expressions meaning to be closely watching or monitoring someone.   Again, mixing body parts and directions often produce malaphors.

The humidity was off the roof

This nice congruent conflation is a mash up of “off the charts” and “through the roof”, both meaning much more than usual.  It was heard on The Howard Stern show, uttered by that long-time caller to the program, Bobo.   He was describing the climate in Florida.  Many thanks to now Senior Vice President of Malaphors Mike Kovacs for hearing this one on the radio last week and passing it on.