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You know how to beat a dead horse in the mouth

Another horse malaphor.  This one is a mashup of “beat a dead horse” (to continue to focus or talk about something) and I think “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” (if you receive a gift, accept it graciously).  “Horse” is the common denominator here.  “Shoot off (one’s) mouth” or “diarrhea of the mouth” could also be in the mix, both meaing to be an excessive talker.  That fits with “beat a dead horse”.

By the way, idioms that include the word “horse” are for some reason continually mixed up.  See my website and type in “horse”.  You will be amazed.  A big thanks to Thomas Smith for sending this one in.

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Don’t look a gift horse in the can

This good piece of advice was unintentionally uttered by the husband of a malaphor follower.  It is a mash up of “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” (receive a gift graciously and without criticism) and I think “in the can” (successfully completed and ready for consumption) or  perhaps “kick the can down the road” (to postpone a definitive action).  Interestingly, the saying “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” is attributed to St. Jerome and refers to the practice of looking at a horse’s teeth to determine its age.  I am not sure looking in the opposite end (the can) would achieve the same purpose.

Horses seem to be common in malaphors.  Ray Johnston, husband of frequent malaphor contributor Marcia Johnston, has suggested that they be called “maraphors”.  Clever thinking Ray!  I will add a new category on the websited entitled Maraphors.  Quite a few have already been posted.  A big thank you to Susan Ban for hearing this one uttered by her husband and passing it on!

gift horse