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They were going butt-to-butt

In describing an angry argument, the speaker uttered this malaphor, a mash up of the phrases “head-to-head” and “butting heads”, both describing a confrontation or argument.  Head butting also comes to mind, among other images…  I will not display a picture for this malaphor.  Many thanks to Naomi David for giving me this gem!

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I don’t know it off the top of my hand

This is a mash up of “off the top of my head” and “offhand”, both meaning to say something without preparation.  Hand and head both look and sound similar, and are both body parts, all adding to the confusion.   I have heard this one many times in conversation and in meetings.


They played out of their heads

Another malaphor from the sports world.   A tv sports commentator uttered this one when describing an underdog basketball team.  This is a mash up of “out of their minds” and “over their heads”, both describing a team that played beyond expectations.  NCAA cinderella team perhaps?

Athletics logo

Athletics logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


You hit the nose on the head

If you type this malaphor on a google search, you get hundreds of responses, reflecting how often this malaphor is written/spoken.  It is a blend of “hit it on the nose” and “hit the nail on the head”, both phrases meaning getting something exactly right.  I suspect the confusion here is also prompted by two words that are both body parts and four letter words.   It also could be from watching too many Three Stooges comedies.


I let it roll over my head

This seems to be a blend of “let it roll off my back” (not to worry about something done or said) and “roll over” (acquiesce to),  both indicating passivity.  The speaker may have confused the anatomy (back and head) which seems to be common in malaphors.   Also the two confused words are four letter words.  The phrase “roll with the punches” (go along with the program) also could have been in the subconscious as it is another phrase involving passivity or acquiescence.