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I can’t put my tongue on it

A girl was asked what gift she wanted for Christmas.  She couldn’t remember the name of the toy, and uttered this congruent conflation of “can’t put my finger on it” and “on the tip of my tongue”, both meaning something one can’t quite recall.   Fingers have tips so perhaps that is what led to the speaker’s confusion.  Or maybe she had watched too many reruns of the movie “A Christmas Story”.  A big thanks to Hannah Evanuik for overhearing this one!

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My old car shit the bucket

Maggie Acker uttered this beauty when talking about her car that stopped running.  It is a congruent conflation of “kicked the bucket” and “shit the bed”, both idioms referring to something or someone that died or failed.  “Shit the bed” is a relatively new idiom (I found it in the Wiktionary – https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/shit_the_bed ).  It usually refers to something that breaks and can’t be repaired, like a cell phone.  Interestingly, in the U.K, it means to express surprise.  The mental mix up probably also was caused by the similar sounding words “kick” and “shit”.  A big, big thanks to John Fischer who heard this one and passed it on.


Everything’s peachy-dory

While I have posted this one before (https://malaphors.com/2014/03/16/thats-just-peachy-dory/), it bears repeating as President Trump said it a few days ago.  Let’s go to the transcript:

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, the news incorrectly reported.  Because I said, well, if we go back and everything is peachy- dory, and you say, “We’ll talk over 30 days,” at the end of 30 days, are you going to give us great border security, which includes a wall or a steel barrier.

This is a mash up of the expressions peachy keen and hunky-dory, both meaning fine or satisfactory.  This seems to be a fairly common malaphor, based on internet hits.  Now hunky keen is a different matter….Several of you caught this one, including Steve Grieme and Mike Kovacs, both expert malaphor hunters.


He should have shown more fire and vinegar

Another from sports talk radio.  Andrew Fillipponi from 93.7 The Fan (a Pittsburgh sports talk radio show) was talking about Steelers coach Mike Tomlin’s lack of anger and passion at his press conference after the loss to the New Orleans Saints.  It is a sweet mashup of “fire and brimstone” (intense speech filled with emotion and anger) and “piss and vinegar” (having an abundance or excessive amount of rowdiness or enthusiasm).  Maybe the speaker didn’t want to say “piss” on the air, but he could then have substituted “spit” as “spit and vinegar” has the same meaning.   The contributor of this nice malaphor wanted to remain anonymous so I respect his/her wishes.


Top of the crop

This gem was seen on the sleeve of an Illy cup of coffee (see picture below).  While it may not be unintentional (Illy is an Italian coffee company, so who knows?) it was too good to pass up.  It is a conflation of “top of the heap” and “cream of the crop”, both meaning superior to others or the very best.  This one is similar to a malaphor posted a few years ago, “He is the top of the notch”.   https://malaphors.com/2012/12/11/he-is-the-top-of-the-notch/

A big thanks to Steve Grieme for spotting this one in sunny St. Petersburg, Florida, and taking a picture of it!


The guardrails are coming off

This one is from a CNN news story:  “The White House official who was in contact with CNN’s Brown said that with the impending departures of both Chief of Staff John Kelly and Mattis, there is a feeling that the guardrails are coming off. The official says “of course it’s crazy. Anyone looking at this has got to think there’s some craziness going on.”https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/22/politics/shutdown-mattis-whitaker-trump/index.htm
This is a congruent conflation of “off the rails” and “the wheels are coming off”,  both meaning a state of chaos or disorder.   The words “rails” and “wheels” were confused, probably due to the association of both of them (wheels on a railroad car).  Of course, if the guardrails are removed, a state of chaos would probably ensue.  A big thanks to Ron MacDonald for spotting this one.
  

Nothing to shake a home about

Joe Theismann, the ex-Redskins quarterback, was discussing the 2018 Redskins on a local D.C. sports talk radio show and in particular the average wide receiver corps.  This is a mash up of “more (something) than you can shake a stick at” (a very large number) and “nothing to write home about”  (not especially remarkable or noteworthy).  This is an interesting one as the two idioms have almost opposite meanings – a perfect example of an incongruent conflation. Maybe Joe was thinking of an earthquake with homes shaking when he uttered this one.  A big thanks to Joe Welch who heard this one and sent it in.