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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!