Quench that itch

There is a local sports radio station here in Pittsburgh called “93.7 The Fan”.  One of the commentators is Josh Miller, a former punter for the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Josh was talking about how football players have trouble finding the excitement of the game after they retire or quit, and that it’s hard for them to “quench that itch”.  This is a mashup of “quench that thirst” (to stop being thirsty) and “scratch an itch” (satisfy a need or desire).  It’s possible that the speaker was thinking of “quashing” (repressing) something instead of quenching, but maybe dousing the itch with water does stop or repress it.  By the way, Josh also uttered one of my favorite malaphors of all time, “he’s open game”, a mix of “open season” and “fair game”.   Josh is unfortunately leaving 93.7 The Fan but we wish him the best and hope for more malaphors.   Kudos to John Kooser for hearing this one and punting it in.

Want to quench that itch for more malaphors?  Check out my book, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available for a cheap 6.99 on Amazon!


We’re going to have to pull the bullet

My running partner uttered this one today.  He was talking about having to complete something that was needed to be done for a long time.  It is a mashup of “bite the bullet” (to do or accept something unpleasant) and probably “pull the plug” (to force something to end).  “Pulling teeth” (to do something that is very difficult) also may be in play as the speaker may have conjured up “teeth” when he thought of “bite”.  “Pull some strings” (to use the power or influence over others) might also have been in the speaker’s mind.  Finally, malaphor follower Sally Adler suggested “pull the trigger” (make a decision).  This certainly is a possibility given “bullet” in the other idiom.  In fact, I believe this is the mashup as in context the speaker was talking about having to make a decision.  Bravo Sally!  Or perhaps he was thinking literally of a bullet puller, a device to safely remove a bullet from a gun.  A big thank you to Dan Geier for unintentionally saying this one, recognizing it as a malaphor, and letting me post it.

We’re just shooting ourselves in the dark!

When discussing a problem that they had been trying to troubleshoot for a rather long time, the submitter’s  coworker exclaimed “At this point we’re just shooting ourselves in the dark!”  This is a mashup of “shooting yourself in the foot” (to damage or impede’s one’s own plans) and “a shot in the dark” (a guess or estimate).  The words “shoot” and “shot” are the culprits here.  As the submitter, Ian, says,  “Perhaps a bit darker than either taking shots in the dark or shooting ourselves in the feet, but it certainly got her point across.”  This one reminds me of one of my favorite malaphors posted on this site, “It’s a crap in the dark.”  Now that’s dark!

A big thanks to Ian for sharing this one.

Trump will do anything to avoid that rock being peeled back

This gem was uttered by Donny Deutsch, American ad executive and television personality, on “Morning Joe”.  He was referring to potential documents by Trump’s personal lawyer that could reveal past business dealings.  It is a congruent conflation of “rock being turned over” and “onion being peeled back”, both meaning to uncover something that is concealed.  This was uttered around Easter, so perhaps Mr. Deutsch had the resurrection image in his mind.  Certainly the similar phrases “peeling back” and turning over” added to the confusion.  A big thanks to Mike Kovacs for hearing this and sending it in.

In case you can’t quite pin the nail on the head

This is from a video about a person describing a mental health condition to his doctor. The speaker said, “It’s helpful to get a recording in case you can’t quite pin the nail on the head.”  This is a mashup of “pin it down” (to establish or determine something concretely) and “hit the nail on the head” (to do exactly the right thing).  As the submitter said, certainly the game “pin the tail on the donkey” was probably on the speaker’s mind.  A big thanks to Jake A. Phillips for sending this one in!


Michael Cohen is in hot soup

This subtle malaphor was found at  Here is the full quote: “That might seem like a pretty shaky defense, even if Cohen really used his home equity line to get the funds as he claims, but it turns out to be no defense at all. Cohen should be in hot soup either way.”

“In hot soup” is a congruent conflation of “in hot water” and “in the soup”, both meaning to be in trouble.  Perhaps this conflation means the person in question is REALLY in trouble.  The mix stems from the liquids “water” and “soup”.   Soup can be served hot or cold, but in this case it is scorching hot.  A tip of the hat to Barry Eigen for spotting this gem.

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