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!
This one was uttered by J.C. Watts on the MTP (Meet the Press) Daily show on MSNBC. It is a nice mash up of “crazy as a loon” (insane) and “phony (or queer) as a three dollar bill” (bogus). http://www.zajilspeed.com/2017/08/african-american-republicans-tried-to.html
I suppose a three dollar bill is pretty crazy, but those loons definitely are the craziest. Of course, pileated woodpeckers sound daffy as well. A big thanks to Chief Malaphor Hunter (CMH) Mike Kovacs for hearing this one and immediately recording it.
This was uttered while making a second attempt at lugging a couch down a set of stairs. It’s a congruent conflation of “back to square one” and “starting from scratch” both meaning a starting place or at the beginning. These phrases seem to be a continual source of confusion. For example, I’ve posted “back to square zero” https://malaphors.com/2017/03/24/were-back-to-square-zero/ and “starting from ground one” https://malaphors.com/2012/11/07/starting-from-ground-one/. Both confuse the many phrases that describe a new beginning or starting over. While a square is certainly not a zero, the mind might be mixing them. One and zero are both numbers, and scratch and square are both similar in sound. A tip of the hat to John Kooser for muttering this one and passing it on!
This was uttered at a meeting. It is a mash up of “fell through the cracks” (to be not noticed or dealt with) and “throw somebody for a loop” (to upset someone unexpectedly). The reason I think the latter is involved is the speaker might have thought “threw” when he uttered the homonym “through”, thus completing the phrase with “loops” instead of “cracks”. The mind does play tricks like that sometimes. I would be interested in others’ thoughts on the mix up. A big thanks to Elaine Hatfield for hearing this one!
These are certainly words to live by, I guess. This is a mash up of “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” (it is easier to get what you want by flattery or being polite than by being demanding) and I think “carrot and stick (approach)” (rewards and punishments that influence someone’s behavior). The carrots and honey both represent something that is pleasing or rewarding to them, hence the confusion. Also, not sure many people know or say “with vinegar” in the proverb “catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”, so the stick was the substitute in this case. A big thanks to Joseph Newcomer for hearing this one and sending it in.
This perfectly formed malaphor was uttered by Josh Miller on the radio show The Fan on 93.7 in Pittsburgh (Miller was a former punter for the Pittsburgh Steelers and is now a sports commentator). Miller was discussing the crazy antics of a fan at a baseball game and the nasty comments directed at him. “Open game” is a mashup of “open season” (a period of time when everyone is criticizing someone or something) and “fair game” (something or someone who is considered permissible to attack). The speaker may have had deer season on his mind, thinking of open season on game? A big shout out to John Kooser who heard this one and sent it in!