They need to roll with the times

A conversation ensued about some people resisting a new initiative at Penn State. The speaker then blurted this one out. It is a mashup of “roll with the punches” (cope with adversity, especially by being flexible) and “get with the times” (to understand or be knowledgable of modern times). “Let the good times roll” may also have been in the speaker’s mind, as I know he is a fan of The Cars. Also perhaps he was thinking of “a roll of dimes”, something he may have done in childhood. Or maybe “Roll Tide!”? A big thanks to Martin Pietrucha who self-reported this malaphor.


It was earth-changing

ABC’s 20/20 aired an episode about a woman’s fraudulent fiance. He told her they were to be married by the Pope and their guests at the wedding mass could include their gay friends and that the gay friends could receive communion. The friend then uttered this great malaphor. Here is the video snippet:

This is a congruent conflation of “earth-shattering/shaking” and “life-changing” , both meaning something having a powerful effect. Maybe also thoughts about climate change going on in the speaker’s head? A tip of the hat to Mike Kovacs for hearing this one and sending it in.


They just decided that they wanted to give him (Trump) a walk

House impeachment manager Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI) was on CNN’s State of the Union, and was discussing the impeachment trial and the verdict. Talking about Mitch McConnell’s closing argument that supported the House Managers’ arguments, she said:

“They all agreed,” she added. “They just decided that they wanted to give him a walk and they found a technicality that they created to do so.” https://www.thedailybeast.com/delegate-stacey-plaskett-says-impeachment-trial-needed-more-senators-with-spines

This is a nice conflation of “to give (one) a pass” (accept someone’s improper actions or behavior without punishment) and “walk away from (someone or something)”, (to come through on the other side of an event without suffering any harm). “Let him walk” (acquitted on a criminal charge) was probably also in the mix. Of course, “walk the plank” (to suffer punishment at the hands of someone) might have been on her mind, considering the context. A big thanks to Bruce Ryan for hearing this one and sending it in!


I would call them at their bluff

This one was heard on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, uttered by Joe himself. He was talking about the 10 GOP Senators who were in the Oval Office proposing a counteroffer to Biden’s 1.9 trillion COVID relief bill and was suggesting that President Biden “call them at their bluff”. This is a conflation of “call (one’s) bluff” (challenge someone to act on their threat or prove that their claim is true, when one believes they are making a false claim) and “take (one) at (one’s) word” (accept what one says without further verifying). A big thank you to Mike Kovacs for hearing this one and promptly sending it in!


Just by the nick of the hair

Heard this one today on The Price is Right. A contestant said this after spinning the big wheel with the arrow barely landing on the right amount. This is a congruent conflation of “just in the nick of time” and “by a hair”, both describing an extremely slim or short margin. A big thanks to Elaine Hatfield for hearing this one and yelling it to me upstairs.


He’s thrown Mitch McConnell out of the bus

Douglas Brinkley, professor of history, Rice University, was being interviewed on CNN. He was asked what he thought Trump was doing to the Republican Party. Brinkley responded by saying Trump was dividing  the Republican Party and “ he’s thrown Mitch McConnell out of the bus”. This is a mashup of “throw (someone) under the bus” (avoid blame by allowing someone else to take responsibility) and “go out (of) the window” (discard or toss a plan or way of thinking). “Under” and “out of” are the culprits here. The phrase “throw (someone) under the bus” has been mashed up a lot. See, for example, other variants on the website such as “he can drink anybody under the bus” – https://malaphors.com/2018/08/29/he-can-drink-anybody-under-the-bus/ and “Trump is not going to throw Paul Ryan over the bus” https://malaphors.com/2017/04/05/trump-is-not-going-to-throw-paul-ryan-over-the-bus/. By the way, he did. A big thanks to Brenda Hubbard for hearing this one!


Press the envelope

Kurt Warner on NFL Network’s Saturday Night Football uttered this mashup. It is a congruent conflation of “press the issue” and “push the envelope”, both meaning to exceed the test the limits of something. “Press” and “push” are similar in sound and meaning, so I think that’s the culprit here. A big thanks to timmyk for hearing this one and sending it in.


He’s paid his time

Ali Velshi on MSNBC was talking about pardons, and those who should be pardoned. He then uttered this nice congruent conflation of “done (one’s) time” and “paid (one’s) dues/debts”, both meaning to have served a sentence. A tip of the Santa hat to Frank King for hearing this one and sending it in.


You’re a one-horse pony

Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked President-elect a question : “Mr. President-elect, do you still think that stories about your son Hunter were Russian disinformation?” Biden responded, “Yes, yes and yes. God love you, man. You’re a one-horse pony, I tell ya.” Here’s the exchange:

https://www.rawstory.com/biden-fires-back-at-fox/?fbclid=IwAR1k3eNzyPxvRRifylrbY7UanCe9H4krhYI_Yb5xmCXlhz42sYRzg7CWd4A

This is a great mashup of “one-trick pony” (someone who is limited to one talent or repeats the same thing) and “one-horse town” (small, unimportant place). Both have the word “one” in them and of course are tied with the equestrian theme. Since this was uttered just a few days before Christmas, the song “Jingle Bells” and “a one-horse open sleigh” might have been on the President-elect’s mind. A tip of the Santa toque to Bruce Ryan who spotted this one first. Others who sent this one in include Ron MacDonald, nutshell_blogger, Robert McLaughlin (via Steve Grieme) and Fred Martin. They are all certainly not one-horse ponies!


They turned up the notch

Stephen Bardo, former NBA star and now basketball analyst for Fox Sports One, was commenting at the end of the Indiana/Butler basketball game how Indiana came back strong in the second half. This is a mashup of “turn up the heat” and “take it up a notch”, both meaning to do something with more determination or intensity. This is a classic congruent conflation, mixing two similar meaning idioms together. They tend to be subtle and therefore a little more difficult to spot. Kudos to Bruce Ryan for hearing this one and calling it in.