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They would jump on a bullet for him

This was uttered when discussing the blind loyalty of Trump supporters.  It is a congruent conflation of “take a bullet for (someone)” and “falling (or jumping) on a grenade for (someone)”, both meaning to accept a personally harmful or sacrificial task to protect someone else.  Jumping on a bullet doesn’t seem like a great sacrifice to me, so perhaps this speaker was not such a loyal follower.  A big thanks to John Kooser for hearing this one.

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This is the big, 40,000 foot question

Tim Mak, NPR political reporter on the NPR radio show, Here and Now, was discussing the recent indictment of Roger Stone.  He was retelling what was in the indictment, but questioning what evidence Special Counsel Robert Mueller has in his possession.  This gem can be heard at 5:15 of the following:

https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2019/01/25/roger-stone-indicted

This is a wonderful conflation of “the 64,000 dollar question” (a question very important and/or difficult to answer) and “the 10,000 (or sometimes 20, 30, or 40,000) foot view” (a description of a problem or issue that provides general information, but short on details).  Idioms containing numbers are often jumbled.  I have posted some other great ones, such as “hindsight is 50/50” (https://malaphors.com/2016/12/20/hindsight-is-5050/) and “we were 3 sheets passing in the night” (https://malaphors.com/2016/10/25/we-were-3-sheets-passing-in-the-night/).  A big thanks to Tom Justice for hearing this one and sending it in!


I wish I could read between the tea lines

This was heard in a morning radio show (WDVE) interview with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ owner, Art Rooney II.  Mr. Rooney was talking about the wide receiver, Antonio Brown, and what will happen to him in the future.  This is a nice conflation of “reading the tea leaves” (predicting on little bits of information) and “reading between the lines” (perceiving an obscure or unexpressed meaning).  Both idioms pertain to perceiving or predicting, and both contain the word “reading”.   “Lines” and “leaves” are also similar sounding words.  This is similar to my prior posted malaphor, “read between the tea leaves” :

https://malaphors.com/2017/03/27/reading-between-the-tea-leaves/

A shout out to Mike Ameel for hearing this one and sending it in.


I can’t put my tongue on it

A girl was asked what gift she wanted for Christmas.  She couldn’t remember the name of the toy, and uttered this congruent conflation of “can’t put my finger on it” and “on the tip of my tongue”, both meaning something one can’t quite recall.   Fingers have tips so perhaps that is what led to the speaker’s confusion.  Or maybe she had watched too many reruns of the movie “A Christmas Story”.  A big thanks to Hannah Evanuik for overhearing this one!


My old car shit the bucket

Maggie Acker uttered this beauty when talking about her car that stopped running.  It is a congruent conflation of “kicked the bucket” and “shit the bed”, both idioms referring to something or someone that died or failed.  “Shit the bed” is a relatively new idiom (I found it in the Wiktionary – https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/shit_the_bed ).  It usually refers to something that breaks and can’t be repaired, like a cell phone.  Interestingly, in the U.K, it means to express surprise.  The mental mix up probably also was caused by the similar sounding words “kick” and “shit”.  A big, big thanks to John Fischer who heard this one and passed it on.


You hit the bottom line

Listening to the radio this morning and the DJs were discussing Trump’s wall speech and the Democratic response. One guy was making the point that both stated their positions but no minds were changed.  To which the other guy replied “ you hit the bottom line”.  This is a conflation of “hit the nail on the head” (exactly the right thing) and “the bottom line” (by extension, the most important aspect of something).  “Hit bottom” (lowest point in a decline) might also have been in the speaker’s mind, considering the nadir in politics right now with the shutdown.  A big thanks to Steve Grieme for hearing this one on his morning commute and sending it in.


Negotiating with Trump is like trying to talk to Jello

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) uttered this gem on CNN January 4, 2019.  The context is regarding the recent Government shutdown over Trump’s proposed wall.  This is a conflation of “like talking to a wall” (a futile conversation because the other party is not listening) and “like nailing Jello to a wall” (a futile attempt at something).  Both idioms contain the word “wall” (appropriate in context, right?) and both concern something that is futile (a conversation or an attempt).   A hat tip to Tom Justice for hearing this one!