ABC’s 20/20 aired an episode about a woman’s fraudulent fiance. He told her they were to be married by the Pope and their guests at the wedding mass could include their gay friends and that the gay friends could receive communion. The friend then uttered this great malaphor. Here is the video snippet:
This is a congruent conflation of “earth-shattering/shaking” and “life-changing” , both meaning something having a powerful effect. Maybe also thoughts about climate change going on in the speaker’s head? A tip of the hat to Mike Kovacs for hearing this one and sending it in.
House impeachment manager Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI) was on CNN’s State of the Union, and was discussing the impeachment trial and the verdict. Talking about Mitch McConnell’s closing argument that supported the House Managers’ arguments, she said:
“They all agreed,” she added. “They just decided that they wanted to give him a walk and they found a technicality that they created to do so.” https://www.thedailybeast.com/delegate-stacey-plaskett-says-impeachment-trial-needed-more-senators-with-spines
This is a nice conflation of “to give (one) a pass” (accept someone’s improper actions or behavior without punishment) and “walk away from (someone or something)”, (to come through on the other side of an event without suffering any harm). “Let him walk” (acquitted on a criminal charge) was probably also in the mix. Of course, “walk the plank” (to suffer punishment at the hands of someone) might have been on her mind, considering the context. A big thanks to Bruce Ryan for hearing this one and sending it in!
Grace Panetta from Business Insider discussed 11 political friendships that crossed party lines. In the section on Orrin Hatch and Ted Kennedy, Hatch says: “I have to say that we became very dear friends. That doesn’t mean we didn’t fight each other. We fought each other like tooth and tongue but afterwards, we’d put our arms around each other and laugh about it,” Hatch told NPR in 2009 after Kennedy’s death.
Given the context, this appears to be a mashup of “tooth and nail, fight/with” (furiously or fiercely) and “hammer and tongs” (energetically or enthusiastically). Tongue sounds like tong (almost a homophone) and so the speaker was probably thinking “tongs”, but that still is a malaphor. The two expressions indicate doing something with great passion, hence the mixup. A tooth is near the tongue, so the substitution of tongue for nail. A big thanks to Lou Pugliese for spotting this one.
This one was heard on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, uttered by Joe himself. He was talking about the 10 GOP Senators who were in the Oval Office proposing a counteroffer to Biden’s 1.9 trillion COVID relief bill and was suggesting that President Biden “call them at their bluff”. This is a conflation of “call (one’s) bluff” (challenge someone to act on their threat or prove that their claim is true, when one believes they are making a false claim) and “take (one) at (one’s) word” (accept what one says without further verifying). A big thank you to Mike Kovacs for hearing this one and promptly sending it in!
This beauty was seen on a Facebook comment, discussing Trump supporters storming the United States Capitol. It is a conflation of “going down the tubes” (to become much worse) and I think, given the context, “lead (someone) down the garden path” (to deceive or mislead someone). The mashup takes on a whole new meaning, and describes the situation perfectly. Interestingly, I posted a previous malaphor that Trump uttered and is a close one: “Clinton is selling them down the tubes”. See https://malaphors.com/2016/08/28/clinton-is-selling-them-down-the-tubes/
A big thank you to David Stephens for spotting this one and sending it in!
Douglas Brinkley, professor of history, Rice University, was being interviewed on CNN. He was asked what he thought Trump was doing to the Republican Party. Brinkley responded by saying Trump was dividing the Republican Party and “ he’s thrown Mitch McConnell out of the bus”. This is a mashup of “throw (someone) under the bus” (avoid blame by allowing someone else to take responsibility) and “go out (of) the window” (discard or toss a plan or way of thinking). “Under” and “out of” are the culprits here. The phrase “throw (someone) under the bus” has been mashed up a lot. See, for example, other variants on the website such as “he can drink anybody under the bus” – https://malaphors.com/2018/08/29/he-can-drink-anybody-under-the-bus/ and “Trump is not going to throw Paul Ryan over the bus” https://malaphors.com/2017/04/05/trump-is-not-going-to-throw-paul-ryan-over-the-bus/. By the way, he did. A big thanks to Brenda Hubbard for hearing this one!
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!
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.
Al Sharpton said this one on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. It is a nice mashup of “all that and a bag of chips” (something very special) and “bowl of cherries” (very pleasant, wonderful). This one is close to a congruent conflation as both idioms refer to something positive. Sharpton might have been thinking about that ubiquitous bowl of potato or tortilla chips parked on the cocktail table for Sunday football.
The phrase “all that and a bag of chips” appears to be new slang, with origins perhaps as recent as the 90s. The phrase is credited to Subway, where initially a bag of chips was included in the price, so you got “all that and a bag of chips.” A big shout out to Mike Kovacs who heard this one and texted it in.
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.