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 http://onlineslangdictionary.com/meaning-definition-of/drop-a-beat.
“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”.
This is another “maraphor”. The speaker uttered this mix up, and then said, “I mean, keep your britches on.” This is a congruent conflation of “hold your horses” and “keep your britches (or pants) on”, both meaning to restrain yourself. Britches, or breeches, are pants used in riding horses so I can see where the speaker was confused. She probably visualized someone with breeches riding a horse. A big shout out to Marianne Julian who heard this and passed it on!
This malaphor was spoken by a dad who was telling his son to stop messing with the car radio. After blurting it out he immediately knew to contact the Malaphor King. This is a mash up of “hold your horses” and “cool your jets”, both meaning to slow down or control one’s excitement.