I was trying to buttercoat it

From the submitter:  “My coworker just said this when complimenting my singing. He used an expletive the first time, but when he repeated it, he used a euphemism in place of the expletive. When I said, “That’s not what you said before,” he said he was trying to buttercoat it, not realizing that he was mixing two expressions. When I told him that what he just said is a malaphor of butter up and sugarcoat, he said that it perfectly conveyed his sentiment.”

This is a great word blend of “sugarcoat” (palatable, or easy to take) and “butter up” (to be nice to someone by flattery or other means).  I think this should be a new phrase in the lexicon, and the above situation is a great example.  A big thanks to Diana for sharing this one!



I wouldn’t do that in a pink fit of Sundays

This was uttered by the submitter’s mum on many occasions.  It is a mashup of “in a pink fit” (a tantrum or in anger) and “in a month of Sundays (under no circumstances).  The mix up seems to be caused by that pesky preposition “in”.

I researched the phrase “in a pink fit” as I had never heard of it and it seems to be an Australian idiom.  Any UK folks out there heard of it?   A big thanks to Abigail for sending this one in.

Did you enjoy this Australian malaphor?  Get the malaphor book “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors” from down under today!  Check out Amazon at

Bills’ McDermott starting to look over his head

This malaphor headline comes to us from the Olean Times Herald:

If you clicked on the link, you will see that the author of the article inadvertently mentions the two sources: “in over your head” (too deeply involved in a difficult situation) and “looking over your shoulder” (insecure or anxious about a potential change).  This is another classic “head/shoulders” mash up.  I have posted numerous others.  A shout out to John Costello for spotting this one.

I think she’s going to drive me into a wall

This was uttered by the submitter’s daughter, complaining about a co-worker.  It’s a nice congruent conflation of “drive (someone) insane” and “drive (someone) up a wall”, both meaning to irritate or annoy someone to the point of distraction.  The speaker may have been thinking “insane” but the “in” led to “into”.   Just a theory.  A big thanks to Steve Grieme for hearing this one!

She did not fall far from the turnip truck

This excellent mashup was overheard from a flight attendant.  It is a nice malaphor reflecting “just fell off the turnip truck” (ignorant or unsophisticated) and “the apple does not fall far from the tree” (someone is displaying traits or behaving in the same way as their relatives (usually parents)).  It actually might be a whole new phrase, describing someone displaying ignorance that is inherited.   Incidentally, the “turnip truck” idiom seems to be often garbled.  I have posted two other malaphors messing with this phrase:  “Does he think I just fell from the turnip tree?”  and “I wasn’t born off the turnip truck”  I guess when things start falling they can come from anywhere and land anywhere.  A big thanks to Jody Compton for hearing this one and passing it on.

Did you like this one?  There are many more just like this in my book, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available on Amazon.  It makes a nice stocking stuffer!

English: A Turnip

They really swept her under the bus

Two friends were talking about someone who was betrayed.  It is a nice mashup of “swept under the rug” (to deny or conceal from public view knowledge of something that is embarrassing or damaging to one’s reputation) and “thrown under the bus” (to exploit someone’s trust for someone’s own purpose).  “Under” is the common culprit here, in addition to the three letter words “bus” and “rug”.  This seems to be the latest in the bus malaphor series.  In addition to this one, I have posted such similar malaphors  as “she threw me under the wolves (, “Trump is not going to throw Paul Ryan over the bus” (, and “he really sold him under the bus” (, the latter a classic uttered Cristin Milioti.  Not sure what’s so hard about uttering “thrown under the bus” but the phrase seems to conjure up a lot of other idioms in the brain’s recesses….A big thank you to Verbatim for hearing this and passing it on.

How I Met Your Mother Reveals 'Mother' – 5 Things to Know About the Actress| Once, How I Met Your Mother, TV News, Josh Radnor, Neil Patrick Harris

Our hard work is finally starting to pay fruit

This subtle gem was overheard at a meeting.  It is a congruent conflation of “pay off” and “bear fruit”, both meaning to yield positive benefits or results.   Those cherries sure start to add up after working hard.  A big thanks to Joel Ringer who heard this one and passed it on.