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He knows where all the skeletons are buried

This was uttered by a guest on MSNBC’s Live with David Gura on Saturday September 15.  It is a nice conflation of “skeletons in the closet” (embarrassing or shameful secrets) and “knows where all the bodies are buried” (know everything about someone, especially secret things that they might not want revealed).  Bodies become skeletons when buried and rotting in the ground; hence the mash up.  Also both expressions involve secrets.  A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one and dishing it up.

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Floods of laughter

This one was uttered by a work colleague talking about an Andy Kaufman bit that had an audience in “floods of laughter”.  It is a mash up of “flood of tears” (crying a lot) and “gales of laughter” (laughing a lot).  Not sure if the speaker is from the UK but if so “shakes with laughter” (uncontrollable laughter) might also be in the mix.  Certainly gales (strong winds) can be associated with flooding caused by a hurricane.  I would much prefer a flood of laughter, however.  A big thanks to Matt Whittaker for hearing this one and sending it in.


He’s laid down a line

Harry Litman was discussing Trump on MSNBC and uttered this nice malaphor.  It is a mash up of “lay down the law” (give an order or directive) and “draw a line” (to set a boundary). “Lay”, “line”, and “law” all seem to be part of the scramble here.  Mr. Litman has been the subject of a previous malaphor (“take no quarter”  https://malaphors.com/2018/04/13/take-no-quarter/) and was very good natured about it.  A true Pittsburgher, full of grace!  A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one and sending it in.

It struck a heart string with many

This beauty comes from a Fox News article about Wendy’s employees making a blind couple’s eating experience a good one.  The article states that “it struck a heart string with many.”  This is a congruent conflation of “strike a chord” and “tug at (one’s) heart strings”, both meaning to elicit a strong emotional response to something.  “Tugging” and “striking” are action words touching something and are probably the source of the mix up.  Certainly one can make “chords” with “strings”, and perhaps the author was thinking of “cords” instead of “chords” as cords are strings.  This is a classic malaphor.  A big thanks to Margaret Grover for spotting this one and sending it in.

I have heard my malaphor book, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available on Amazon, has struck many a heart string.  You can get it now for a cheap $6.99 (normally $7.99). https://www.amazon.com/dp/0692652205

 


They want to take me to bat

During an interview on MSNBC on Sunday, 9/9/18, Omarosa Manigault Newman uttered this mix up.  It is a mash up of “take me to task (scold or reprimand) and I believe, given the context, “bat for the other team” (to support, secretly or openly, the opposing side of a given contest or debate).  “Bat around” (hit something around) might also be in the mix, again given the context.  A big thanks to Bob Smith for hearing this one and sending it in.

 


I am willing to eat my crow

Following up on yesterday’s malaphor, this one also was heard on the Pittsburgh sports radio call in show, 93.7 The Fan.  This one was uttered by sports commentator and analyst Josh Taylor, who was saying that at the beginning of the season he thought the Pirates starting pitchers were not going to be good enough.  He admitted he was wrong, and then said this nice congruent conflation of “eat crow”, and “eat my words”, both meaning to confess being wrong about a prediction.  “Eat” is in both idioms which produced no doubt the mashup.  “I’ll eat my hat” must also be in the mix (thanks “my ol’ pal”!), as Josh made a prediction that he had to admit later was wrong.  Eating one’s hat is the result.  Then again, eating one’s own crow might really be admitting error.   A big thanks once again to John Kooser for hearing this one and passing it on!

If you want to predict something right, buy the book on malaphors, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available on Amazon.  You’ll be eating high off the hog, with no crow.


He was sleeping on the switch

On a Pittsburgh sports radio call-in show called The Fan, Ron Cook (an excellent Pittsburgh Post Gazette Sports writer and sports show commentator) hung up on a caller who did not answer in time.   He then said the caller was “sleeping on the switch”.   This is a congruent conflation of “asleep at the switch” and “sleeping on the job”, both meaning to be inattentive.  “Asleep at the wheel” might also be in play, but I doubt it as the mix up is with the prepositions “at” and “on”.  A big thanks to John Kooser who was certainly not sleeping on the switch when he heard this one.