He’s paid his time

Ali Velshi on MSNBC was talking about pardons, and those who should be pardoned. He then uttered this nice congruent conflation of “done (one’s) time” and “paid (one’s) dues/debts”, both meaning to have served a sentence. A tip of the Santa hat to Frank King for hearing this one and sending it in.

You’re a one-horse pony

Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked President-elect a question : “Mr. President-elect, do you still think that stories about your son Hunter were Russian disinformation?” Biden responded, “Yes, yes and yes. God love you, man. You’re a one-horse pony, I tell ya.” Here’s the exchange:


This is a great mashup of “one-trick pony” (someone who is limited to one talent or repeats the same thing) and “one-horse town” (small, unimportant place). Both have the word “one” in them and of course are tied with the equestrian theme. Since this was uttered just a few days before Christmas, the song “Jingle Bells” and “a one-horse open sleigh” might have been on the President-elect’s mind. A tip of the Santa toque to Bruce Ryan who spotted this one first. Others who sent this one in include Ron MacDonald, nutshell_blogger, Robert McLaughlin (via Steve Grieme) and Fred Martin. They are all certainly not one-horse ponies!

They turned up the notch

Stephen Bardo, former NBA star and now basketball analyst for Fox Sports One, was commenting at the end of the Indiana/Butler basketball game how Indiana came back strong in the second half. This is a mashup of “turn up the heat” and “take it up a notch”, both meaning to do something with more determination or intensity. This is a classic congruent conflation, mixing two similar meaning idioms together. They tend to be subtle and therefore a little more difficult to spot. Kudos to Bruce Ryan for hearing this one and calling it in.

I’m in hog city

The speaker was enjoying himself, and unintentionally uttered this perfectly formed congruent conflation of “in hog heaven” and “fat city”, both meaning pleasant situations (the latter usually referring to a state of wealth). “Living high off the hog” (to prosper or live very well) could also be in the mix, as it has the same meaning as “fat city”. A big thanks to Bill Belanger for blurting out this one and sending it in! Oink oink.

The truth is in the pudding

A defendant was telling Judge Judy that the facts will come out shortly. This is a conflation of “the truth will out” (the facts will always be discovered) and “the proof is in the pudding” (the final results of something are the only way to judge its quality or veracity). Some may think this is a malaprop (mistaken use of a similar sounding word) – “truth” for “proof”. However, given the context, it is very likely the speaker confused two idioms resulting in a nice malaphor. A big thanks to Vicki Ameel-Kovacs for hearing this one and Mike Kovacs for his cub reporting.

They are not going to let this ship go down in flames

Kasie Hunt on MSNBC’s Morning Joe was musing about Republican senators not wanting the party to go down with Trump. I believe this is a conflation of “go down with the ship” (to fall or be punished because of one’s involvement with some larger group or enterprise) and “go down in flames” (fail spectacularly). “Shot down in flames” (judged harshly and rejected) might also be in the mix given the context. “Go down” is in both phrases, so is probably the cause of the mixup. A big thanks to Bruce Ryan for hearing this one and sending it in!

Stem this dam

Heidi Przybyla was on Nicole Wallace’s MSNBC show, Deadline White House, and was talking about members of Congress coming forward and admitting that Biden won. She said there is a “question if those coming forward are going to be enough to stem this dam for part of the country.” This appears to be an incongruent conflation (mix of two idioms with opposite meanings) of “stem the tide” (stop the course of a trend or tendency) and “break the dam” (allow information to flow). A big thanks to Bruce Ryan and Frank King for both hearing this one and sending it in.

I think that’s going to throw them for a curve

This one was spoken by Brad Fox on the HGTV show “Should I Stay or Go”. The homeowners were given an unexpected choice. This is a congruent conflation of “throws (someone) a curve” and “throws (someone) for a loop”, both meaning something unexpected that upsets or confuses someone. “Throw” is the common denominator here that causes the confusion. I have previously posted its bookend, “throws you a loop”, and you can revisit that malaphor at this link – https://malaphors.com/2014/06/09/the-business-side-always-throws-you-a-loop/. A tip of the hat to Yvonne Stam for hearing this one and sending it in!

That’s not what you call leading from the front foot

Nikema Williams (D-GA) was talking on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports about the current poor leadership. This is a mashup of “leading from the front” (to act or behave the way one advises or espouses) and “getting off on the right foot” (to have a positive or favorable start). I suppose that is better than leading from the back foot. Another big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one.

She flipped her tune

This is another from Naomi David. She was talking about someone changing her opinion. This is a congruent conflation of “change (one’s) tune” and “flipped”, both meaning to change or reverse course, or change sides in a controversy. “Flipped the script” (make a total reversal or radical change) might also have been on the speaker’s mind (a shout out to Verbatim for noting this). In this current political climate, she may have been thinking of states “flipping” from red to blue or vice versa. A big thanks to Naomi and to Katie Norwood for hearing this one and passing it on.