This was overheard in a conversation. It is a mash up of “breathing down my neck” (closely monitor someone) and “Jump down someone’s throat” (strongly disagree or criticize someone) , with the common word “down” perhaps being the culprit for the conflation. Throats and necks are also situated in the same location so the speaker may have their anatomical parts mixed up. “At each other’s throats” (said of two people who are noticeable angry with each other). might also be in the mix. Certainly this boss closely monitors a little too closely, don’t you think? A shout out to Emily Klingel for hearing this one and passing it on!
Today’s malaphor is from the first episode of “Tour Group” on Bravo. One of the reality stars describes another cast member as someone who “jumps off the the handle too soon.” Certainly “flies off the handle” (to lose one’s temper) was intended, but what is the mix? Perhaps the speaker was thinking of “jumps off the deep end” (to get deeply involved with someone or something) because of the words jump and off. However, I think the better mix is with “jump to conclusions” (to decide something without all the facts) as both idioms concern doing something quickly without thinking. “Jump down someone’s throat” (to strongly criticize someone) is also a possibility, as one who flies off the handle is also likely to jump down someone’s throat! The culprit here is the action verbs fly and jump, both involving going through the air. A big thanks to Diane Bufter for hearing this one and sending it in!
If you enjoyed this one and the analysis of mental hiccups, check out my book “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors” on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0692652205. You won’t be disappointed!