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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.

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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!


Nothing to shake a home about

Joe Theismann, the ex-Redskins quarterback, was discussing the 2018 Redskins on a local D.C. sports talk radio show and in particular the average wide receiver corps.  This is a mash up of “more (something) than you can shake a stick at” (a very large number) and “nothing to write home about”  (not especially remarkable or noteworthy).  This is an interesting one as the two idioms have almost opposite meanings – a perfect example of an incongruent conflation. Maybe Joe was thinking of an earthquake with homes shaking when he uttered this one.  A big thanks to Joe Welch who heard this one and sent it in.


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.


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.