A lot of Senators have reserved their fire

Jonathan Allen,  NBC News National Reporter, uttered this one on the Rachel Maddow Show.  He was talking about Republicans who might vote for rule changes in the upcoming impeachment trial of Trump.  This is a congruent conflation of “hold your fire” and “reserve judgment”, both meaning to postpone one’s criticism or commentary.  A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one and passing it on.

I was elected to “Clean the Swamp”

This was uttered by President Trump in a December 5, 2019 tweet.  Here it is:

..trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business. We will have Schiff, the Bidens, Pelosi and many more testify, and will reveal, for the first time, how corrupt our system really is. I was elected to “Clean the Swamp,” and that’s what I am doing!

Trump’s mantra has always been “drain the swamp”, so I believe this is a malaphor, conflating “drain the swamp” with “clean house”, both meaning to wipe out corruption or inefficiency.   A big thanks to Sandor Kovacs for spotting this one and sending it in.


He’s on a thin leash

This beauty was uttered by someone who was asked if he thought the Cowboys’ football coach, Jason Garrett, would be fired soon.  It is a mashup of “on thin ice” (close to being in trouble) and “on a tight leash” (strict control over someone).  The words “thin” and “tight” are close in sound and meaning.  A big thanks to John Kooser who heard this one and passed it on!


The doors are closing in

Gregory Meeks (D-NY) said this one on “Ths Last Word” – “…the Republicans have no way out, the doors are closing in…”  It is a congruent conflation of “the walls are closing in” and “the doors are closing”, both meaning running out of time and the end is nearing.  Doors and walls can be confusing.  A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one and sending it in.

You dance with the devil you came with

Ike Reese (former football player for the Philadelphia Eagles) on the Marks and Reese sports talk radio show (WIP, 94.1), was discussing QB Carson Wentz’s risky play of diving and sliding to make a first down.  This is a nice mashup of “dance with the devil (or death)” (do something dangerous, risky or on the wild side) and “dance with the one that brung ya” (be loyal or attentive to the one who has been supportive).  So perhaps Ike was saying, “stick to the risky behavior that has made you successful”?  Maybe this can be a follow-up song for Shania Twain as well?  A big thank you to Linda Bernstein who heard this one and passed it on!

You know how to beat a dead horse in the mouth

Another horse malaphor.  This one is a mashup of “beat a dead horse” (to continue to focus or talk about something) and I think “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” (if you receive a gift, accept it graciously).  “Horse” is the common denominator here.  “Shoot off (one’s) mouth” or “diarrhea of the mouth” could also be in the mix, both meaing to be an excessive talker.  That fits with “beat a dead horse”.

By the way, idioms that include the word “horse” are for some reason continually mixed up.  See my website and type in “horse”.  You will be amazed.  A big thanks to Thomas Smith for sending this one in.


bottom of the pack

Joy Reid on MSNBC was discussing the Democratic debate and the attacks from those candidates with the least to lose, referring to them as “those polling at the bottom of the pack”.  This is a mashup of “back of the pack”  (last ones) and “bottom of the barrel” (least desirable).  I suppose this malaphor fits if you are referring to playing cards, or when you have been binge swiping on Tinder and have run out of people – see Urban Dictionary https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=bottom%20of%20the%20pack

A shout out to Frank King, a malaphor spotting regular.  Good ear, Frank!