It tickled my fancy bone

This is a nice mash up of “tickled my fancy” and “it tickled my funny bone” (to make someone laugh).  To laugh and be curious at the same time?  Perhaps, but in this case just another great malaphor. Tickle is the culprit here, as well as the similar sounding words “fancy” and “funny”.  A big thanks to “Curious Steph” who wrote this accidentally.  By the way, she is starting a new blog –,  Check it out.


They’re getting ready to lower the bomb on them

The speaker was talking about an incident involving some students on campus and said to a colleague, “they’re getting ready to lower the bomb on them.”  This is a nice mashup of “lower the boom” (to scold or punish someone) and “drop the bomb” (to reveal startling information).   Bombs go BOOM so there you go.   A big thanks to frequent contributor Martin Pietrucha who unintentionally blurted this one out.
If you enjoyed this one there are many more just like it in my malaphor book, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available on Amazon now!  Makes a perfect bathroom read.

Anne of Seven Gables

This might be the first literary malaphor posted.   A friend was discussing books and mentioned this one.  It is a mash up of Anne of Green Gables, a children’s novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery, and The House of the Seven Gables, a novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne.  Gables created the garble.   A shout out to Martin Pietrucha for uttering this one and then man enough to send it in.

That game was a real nail-breaker

I just heard this nice word blend malaphor today.  A couple of guys in the sauna were talking about the Penguins/Predators final game for the Stanley Cup and one blurted this out.  It is a mash up of “nail-biter” (a situation whose outcome is marked with nervous apprehension) and “heart-breaker” (a situation that causes great sadness).  Since the subject was hockey, perhaps “icebreaker” (to initiate a conversation or get it started) was also on the speaker’s mind.

At the drop of a beat AND Hold the brakes

Double malaphor!! This is as rare as a double rainbow sighting.  Both of these malaphors were heard on one episode of the NBC show First Dates.  “At the drop of a beat” is a congruent conflation of “at the drop of a hat” and “in a heartbeat”, meaning to do something immediately.  Hat and heart might be the culprits here, and perhaps the speaker thinking of the slang phrase “dropping a beat”, meaning to play a beat.  See

“Hold the brakes” is another congruent conflation of “hit the brakes” and “hold your horses”, both meaning to stop something.  Hold and hit are probably the culprits in this mashup.  Outstanding work goes to Steve Grieme for hearing both of these, sending them in, and offering the above deconstruction of each phrase.  Steve is now given the official title of “Malaphor Man”.

She’s not a shrinking flower

This is a nice congruent conflation of “shrinking violet” and “wallflower”, both describing someone who is shy.  The confusion is obvious: violets are flowers.  The speaker (who was me by the way) may have also been mixing shrinking with stinking.  The local conservatory, the Phipps, has a corpse flower, which emits a smell akin to rotting flesh when it blooms, and the day I uttered this malaphor the flower had bloomed and there was a great deal of news about it.

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!