This gem was uttered by Congressman Jim Himes (D-CT) yesterday on Meet the Press, talking about the Trump impeachment inquiry. It is a mashup of “muddy the waters” (to make a situation less clear) and “gum up the works” (to interfere with the proper functioning of something). Both expressions refer to degrading something, and “works” and “waters” might have been jumbled by the phrase “water works”? A big shout out to Bruce Ryan who heard this one and passed it on. @jahimes @MeetThePress
You can hear this malaphor just about at the beginning of the video:
A TV host was interviewing an author, and commenting on the author’s successful book (on the NY Times bestseller list). This seems to be a mashup of “run away with” (win handily) and “off the charts” (spectacular). Both phrases refer to something or someone having success, hence the mixup in context. A big thanks to Verbatim for hearing this one and sending it in.
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In the seemingly never ending mashups of idioms involving the word “horse”, I give you this latest one, uttered by my grandnephew Nathan Hatfield. His Dad was asking him about a project he was working on. It is a mashup of “Kick (one) when (one) is down” (to criticize someone wh has already suffered a setback) and “beat a dead horse” (to continue to focus or talk about something). 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 John Hatfield III for hearing this one and passing it on!
This is actually the title of an article in The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/17/climate-science-deniers-environment-warning
It is a mashup of “running out of time” (to no longer have any time left to finish an activity) and, based on the context, I believe “on the ropes” (close to defeat). “At the end of (one’s) rope” (completely worn out) might also be in the mix as both idioms refer to the end of an activity. A big thanks to John Kooser who spotted this one in plain sight.
The speaker (contributor’s mom) was referring to Republicans when she heard that an impeachment inquiry on Trump was starting. This is a mashup of “with all guns blazing” (forcefully and with a strong sense of purpose) and “knives out” (people eager to criticize another). Perhaps in this era “guns out” is more appropriate than knives. A big thanks to Sandor Kovacs who heard this one and passed it on.
This one was uttered by a witness in a trial. It is a conflation of “keep your eyes on the ball” (stay focused) and I think “put your shoulder to the wheel” (work hard, put an effort into something). Certainly one has to keep their eyes open when driving, but don’t stare at the wheel or you will be in big trouble. Perhaps the speaker was thinking “eyes on the prize”, and the big Wheel of Fortune bubbled up in his brain. Not sure. A big thanks to Tom Justice who heard this one and passed it on.
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.