That’s a whole different ball of fish

This is a mix of two phrases with the same meaning – “different ball of wax” and “different kettle of fish” (completely different or not at all similar).   Fish ball soup might also be in the unconscious here (see picture).   This type of malaphor involving phrases with the same or similar meanings is also referred to as a congruent conflation and is usually the most commonly uttered malaphor (and usually the best).  Loyal follower David Spain unintentionally blurted this one out and referred it here.  Thanks David!

Fish Ball Soup ~ Overseas Pinoy Cooking

He’s a wet fish

This great malaphor is a blend of”wet blanket” and “cold fish”, both reflecting rather sour personalities, the former a depressing person who spoils others’ enjoyment, and the latter a person who does not seem very friendly and shows little emotion.  Fish of course are always wet (unless grilled I suppose) which may have been in the speaker’s mind as well.  For some reason a dead fish handshake also seems in play here.  I personally am going to start using this expression as there are people out there who fit both categories.  John Costello gets the kudos for this one, as he unintentionally uttered this malaphor when he was describing a person who is kind of a dour drip.  I hope it wasn’t me!

I’ve got better fish to fry

This one comes from the Christopher Walken character in the movie Batman Returns:

Charles ‘Chip’ Shreck: Dad, you buy that “blurry” business?
Maximillian’Max’ Shreck: Women. Nothing surprises me, Chip, except your late
mother. Who’d have thought Selina had a brain to damage. Bottom line,
she tries to blackmail me, I’ll drop her out a higher window. Meantime, I
got better fish to fry.

This is a blend of “I’ve got bigger fish to fy” and “I’ve got better things to do”.  Kudos to Barry Eigen for spotting this subtle malaphor.

Cover of "Batman Returns (Two-Disc Specia...

Cover via Amazon


It’s like shooting ducks in a barrel

This is a mash up of “shooting fish in a barrel” (easy action with guaranteed success) and “all your ducks in a row” (getting everything in order), submitted by a loyal follower, the TruroTattler.   Given the enormous amount of google hits, this is a common malaphor, as ducks appear to be as easy a target as fish.  Also shooting mechanical ducks in a penny arcade shooting gallery is certainly playing on the mind in this one.