This one comes from Politico’s Anna Palmer, heard on Morning Joe. She was talking about the midnight deadline for the COVID relief bill. This is a conflation of “at the end of the day” (ultimately) and “down to the wire” (until the last possible moment). Is it me or is “at the end of the day” the most overused phrase on television these days? A pundit can’t finish a sentence without uttering it. Apparently others are in agreement:
A big thanks to Frank King and Jim Kozlowski for hearing this one and sending it in!
At a recent settlement conference the speaker meant to say, “hold their feet to the fire” but instead heard herself saying, “put their nose to the wire”. So where to start on this multi-mixed idiom blend? First, wire rhymes with fire so that must have been in the speaker’s mind. Second, since it was a settlement agreement, perhaps “hold their noses” (to attempt to avoid something unpleasant) was on her mind. As time is usually of the essence in a case, “down to the wire” (until the last possible moment) may also have been swirling around her brain. “Put your nose to the grindstone” (to keep busy doing work) was probably also bubbling to the surface, considering the tenacious nature of settlement conferences. Finally, horses win often by a nose at the wire so that image could also have been in the thought process. A big thanks to Polly McGilvray for saying and sharing this multi-faceted malaphor!