It’s a collusion witch hoax

This one is self-evident – spoken by Trump to the press on March 8 after the Manafort sentencing.  This is a conflation of “witch hunt” (an attempt to blame and punish people who hold unpopular views and opinions, often under the guise of some other investigation) and “hoax” (to trick into believing as genuine something false).  Maybe it was used intentionally as shorthand talk, like “Tim Apple”.  A big thanks to Frank King for spotting this timely one.

We’re going to leave nothing uncovered

This one comes from Donald Trump, explaining how he’s going to thoroughly investigate the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.  It is a great mash up of “leave no stone unturned” (to look for something in every possible place) and “leave nothing to chance” (to allow nothing to be settled by chance) or perhaps also “uncover the truth.” The added bonus here is that his mash up manages to mean exactly the opposite of what he intended.

Here is the link:

A big thanks to David Barnes for spotting this one and sending it in.

Now Sloppy Steve has been dumped like a dog

#3 in the “Fire and Fury” malaphor series.   This one comes courtesy of the President of the U.S. Donald Trump, in one of his twitters responding to the book, “Fire and Fury”.  He says:

“Michael Wolff is a total loser who made up stories in order to sell this really boring and untruthful book. He used Sloppy Steve Bannon, who cried when he got fired and begged for his job. Now Sloppy Steve has been dumped like a dog by almost everyone. Too bad!”

“Dumped like a dog” is a conflation of “dropped like a hot potato” (to abandon someone or something suddenly),  “dumped” (to reject), and “like a whipped dog” (ashamed because you have been defeated).  The latter seems particularly appropriate given the context.  Of course, dogs do take “dumps” which may have been in the speaker’s mind.  A big thanks to David Barnes for sniffing this one out.

It’s as plain as a hair on your face

This is the second in the “Fire and Fury” malaphor series.   Steve Bannon, quoted in Michael Wolff’s book, was talking about how Mueller’s investigation is about money laundering:

“You realize where this is going,” he is quoted as saying. “This is all about money laundering. Mueller chose [senior prosecutor Andrew] Weissmann first and he is a money-laundering guy. Their path to fucking Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr and Jared Kushner … It’s as plain as a hair on your face.”

This is a mashup of “it’s as plain as the nose on your face” (very obvious or noticeable) and “not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin” (never; no way).   I suppose a hair on one’s face is also noticeable, depending on the location.  A big thanks to Tom Justice and Ron MacDonald for both spotting this malaphor and sending it in!

It is finally sinking through

Our Twitter-in Chief, Donald Trump, gave us this beauty in a recent twitter.  “It is finally sinking through. 46% OF PEOPLE BELIEVE MAJOR NATIONAL NEWS ORGS FABRICATE STORIES ABOUT ME. FAKE NEWS, even worse! Lost cred.” It is a congruent conflation of “sinking in” and “getting through”, both meaning to make someone understand something.  The prepositions “in” and “through” are probably the culprits here.  However, Jack MaCack has a different theory he shared on Twitter as a response: “I think by using the phrase “sinking through” he was channeling the current state of his diaper.”

In any event, Trump seems to be a malaphor goldmine, based on the frequency of past posts.  Let’s hope he keeps ’em coming!  As soon as this tweet was released over the weekend, I heard immediately from two Malaphor Hunter regulars – Justin Taylor and Barry Eigen.  Kudos to both of them for spotting this subtle mashup.

Trump’s window… is sinking

This nice malaphor was spotted in the PowerPost section of the Washington Post:


“– Trump’s window to score early legislative victories is sinking as Congress’s summer recess nears — giving the president just two months to revive his health-care and tax efforts before lawmakers depart Capitol Hill for a long break.”

Here’s the source:

It is a mashup of “a window of opportunity is closing” (a brief time period in which an opportunity exists) and “ship is sinking (or sinking ship)” (a failed or floundering organization or entity).  Sinking windows is never a good thing.  A big thank you to Barry Eigen for seeing this one and sending it in!

He (Obama) starts signing them (Executive Orders) like they’re butter

This beauty was uttered by Donald Trump in April 2016 when he was on the campaign trail.  He was talking about Executive Orders, and how he was not going to use that vehicle to get things done, unlike then President Obama:

“Executive orders sort of came about more recently. Nobody ever heard of an executive order, then all of a sudden Obama — because he couldn’t get anybody to agree with him — he starts signing them like they’re butter, so I want to do away with executive orders for the most part.”

Of course we all know now Trump used the Executive Order process at an unprecedented pace in his first 90 days.   This is a mashup of “to go/cut through something like a (hot) knife through butter” (to do or cut something very easily) and “selling like hotcakes” (to sell quickly and in large numbers).  While “sell” and “hotcakes” are not in the malaphor, I believe he was thinking of this idiom when he uttered the mix up, confusing “selling” for “signing”.  Kudos to Karl Robins for spotting this one as he saw it on Seth Meyers’ 4/26/17 monologue.

Trump is not going to throw Paul Ryan over the bus

Over/under is the culprit here.  This was heard by a Republican pundit speaking on CNN.  It is a nice mashup of “go over the cliff” (taking a drastic step) and “throw (someone) under the bus” (exploit someone’s trust for one’s own gain or purpose).  “Throw (someone) overboard” (get rid of excess baggage) might also be in the mix, as well as “over the edge” (excessive or out of control).  Given the statures of the persons named, it might be possible.  A big thanks to Ron McDonald for hearing this one and sending it in!

We should be at the top of the pack

In an interview with the Reuters news agency, Trump said he would prefer a world free of nuclear weapons but otherwise the United States should be “at the top of the pack.”  The remarks came as Trump prepared to address the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
This is a nice congruent conflation of “top of the heap” and “leader of the pack”, both meaning to be the best in a group.  I am looking forward to a treasure trove of malaphors for the next four years.  A big thanks to Frank King for spotting this one and sending it in!
Want to read the book that is at the top of the pack in humor and wordplay?  Check out my book, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors” available on Amazon.  Click on either of these links to get it:

I’m afraid that he’s jumping into the frying pan with both feet

This gem was reported in the Washington Post.   A disillusioned Trump voter in Iowa was talking about Trump:

“He’s got a lot of controversial stuff going on and rather than thinking it through, I’m afraid that he’s jumping into the frying pan with both feet.”   This is a mashup of “out of the frying pan and into the fire” (from a bad situation to a worse situation) and “jump in with both feet” (to become involved quickly and completely).  “Jumping to conclusions” (to decide something without having all the facts) was also on the speaker’s mind, I think.  It is an excellent mixed idiom, as the two combined mean to get into a bad situation quickly, which is what the speaker I believe was thinking.  And the mental image of one jumping into a hot frying pan with both feet certainly would create a bad situation!  Kudos to Linda Bernstein and Barry Eigen for spotting this one and sending it in!