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It’s petering down

No, this was not said in an erectile dysfunction commercial, but rather by Heidi Przybyla on MSNBC’s Morning Joe the other day.  She was talking about the Mueller investigation.  It is a congruent conflation of “petering out” and “winding down”, both meaning to slowly come to a conclusion or end.  Another tip of the hat to Frank King for spotting this one.  He has the ears of a hawk.

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We did everything from soup to finish

Overheard at a business meeting.  This is a congruent conflation of “from soup to nuts” and “from start to finish”, both meaning to provide for the full range, with the beginning to the end in mind.  Reminds me of an earlier one I posted, “let’s get down to the soup and nuts of it.” https://malaphors.com/2015/09/08/get-down-to-the-soup-and-nuts-of-it/

A big thanks to Dave Julian for hearing this one and Marianne Julian for passing it on!


The fish stinks from the head

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) uttered this on the Chris Hayes show (Ali Velshi filling in) the other night, referring to Trump.  She said, “The Italians have an expression ‘the fish stinks from the head’.”  Well, actually, the expression is “the fish rots from the head down”, meaning bad leaders damage an organization, and her comment mixes the idiom  “stink to high heaven”, meaning to be or seem extremely corrupt or disreputable.  Rotting sure gives off a stink so it is understandable that the speaker got confused.  Another big thank you to Frank King, our MSNBC Malaphor Reporter.


He’s running the shots

This excellent malaphor was uttered by a CNN reporter on the program New Day on 8/9/18.  The reporter was referring to Mueller, and his ongoing negotiations with Trump’s legal team with respect to an interview with Trump.  It’s a congruent conflation of “running the show” and “calling the shots”, both referring to someone who is in control of the situation.  “Show” and “shot” are both four letter words that have similar sounds, and I suspect the reason for the mental mix up.  A big thank you to Mike Kovacs for hearing this one and sending it in.  


He’s turning over a new lease on life

This perfectly formed malaphor is a mashup of “turning over a new leaf” (to change one’s behavior, usually in a positive way) and “a new lease on life” (a new chance for happiness, usually after a hardship).   “New” is common to both idioms, and the words “lease” and “leaf” are similar sounding.  Both I think contributed to the mental mix up.  A big thanks to Martin Pietrucha for sharing this one with the malaphor world.

If you liked this malaphor you’ll love my book on the subject, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available on Amazon for a cheap $6.99.  A must for every bathroom library.


Parents should stick to their ground involving kids’ names

I guess that means names like Sandy and Muddy?  This was spotted on Quora, an internet platform to ask questions and get answers.  It is a great congruent conflation of “stick to your guns” and “hold/stand your ground”, both meaning to refuse to yield or compromise.  “Ground” and “guns” both start with a G and have a similar sound, hence the mental mix up.  A big thanks to Margaret Grover who spotted this one and sent it in!


He’s bald as a bat

A work colleague was attempting to describe why a helmet might feel uncomfortable for a customer, saying “Admittedly he’s bald as a bat.  This is a nice mashup of “bald as a coot (or cue ball)” (completely bald) and “blind as a bat” (having poor vision).  I like the alliteration here but bats indeed have hair.  Coots are not bald either.  Coots have prominent frontal shields or other decoration on the forehead, with red to dark red eyes and coloured bills. Many, but not all, have white on the under tail. The featherless shield gave rise to the expression “as bald as a coot,” which the Oxford English Dictionary cites in use as early as 1430.  A shout out to Gibbon for hearing this one and sending it in.

Enjoyed this malaphor?  Then you would love my book “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available on Amazon.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/0692652205