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!


It’s slow sledding

The speaker was discussing a contract that was particularly difficult to draft.  It is a nice mashup of “rough (or tough) sledding” (difficult or turbulent period of time or undertaking) and “slow going” (a state of slow or arduous process).  Both idioms refer to a difficult process that is slow, tedious, and difficult.  The speaker also might have been thinking “snow sledding”, given the unusually hot temperatures right now.  A big thanks to Donna Doblick who confessed that she was indeed the speaker and for sharing this one.  It happens to us all, Donna.


I was double-stabbed

The speaker was talking about someone at work who had requested something and then was later penalized for the exact thing.  It is a nice congruent conflation of “stabbed in the back” and “double-crossed”, both meaning to be betrayed.  A big thanks to Jamie for sharing this one, and who immediately recognized it was a malaphor!  Glad you shared it immediately, Jamie, as they quickly recede from the memory banks for some reason.