He’s teetering a fragile line

Ginger Gibson, Reuters Political Correspondent on the NPR show A1, was talking about Trump’s recent actions relative to the Roger Stone sentencing.  This is a mashup of “teetering on the edge” (to be very close to a dangerous situation)  and “walking a fine line” (in a dangerous situation where you could easily make a mistake).  Both idioms involve dangerous situations, and “line” and “edge” are closely related.  Not sure where “fragile” fits in, but “fine” has a similar meaning to “fragile”, to wit – fine means “having or requiring an intricate delicacy of touch” as in ‘delicate’, ‘fragile’, ‘frail’,” etc .”  Here’s where you can hear a recording: at 7:25. https://the1a.org/segments/the-news-roundup-domestic-2020-014-02/  

By the way, this is Ms. Gibson’s second malaphor.  See  https://malaphors.com/2018/05/18/the-buck-stops-at-the-top/.

A tip of the hat to David Barnes for hearing this one.

Right out of the bat

MSNBC reporter Cal Perry was questioning Andrew Yang about the Trump budget, and said, “What are your thoughts right out of the bat?”  This is a mashup of “right off the bat” (immediately) and “out of the gate” (from the start).  “Off the top of (one’s) head” (initial thought or reaction) might also be in the mix given the context.  A big thanks to Frnak King who heard this one and sent it in.

He’s tooting that horn all the way to the bank

This one comes from the Washington Post’s Daily 202  Connie Breeden, an attorney who is African American, said “This is going to be Biden’s last stand because he thinks that black people are going to support him just because of Barack Obama. He’s tooting that horn all the way to the bank. But people are savvier than that.”  This is a mashup of “tooting his own horn” (to boast or brag about one’s abilities) and “laughing all the way to the bank” (to profit from something that others regard as stupid or frivolous).  Here’s the link to the malaphor


Perhaps the speaker was thinking of thieves dressed as clowns robbing a bank.  That is certainly in several movies, including Quick Change.  A big thank you to Barry Eigen for spotting this one and sending it in.

He has his hands in a lot of pies

The contributor of this malaphor was also the speaker, and blurted out this beauty by accident.  It is almost a congruent conflation, as both “a hand in something” and “a finger in every pie” mean to have an interest in or involvement in a matter, but in the case of finger in every pie, it is involvment in everything.  “Fingers” and “hands” seem to be the culprit here, and I suspect, knowing the speaker, that his mind might have been on some pie-fighting scenes in a few 3 Stooges shorts.  A shout out to Martin Pietrucha for sending this one in!

I have a job underneath the books

This was heard at an administrative hearing.  The speaker was talking about work that he was currently performing.  It is a congruent conflation of “off the books” and “under the table”, both meaning to do something in secret so that taxes won’t be paid.  Then again, maybe the speaker works in the basement of a library.  A follow up question hopefully was made.  A big thanks to John Costello for hearing this one.

If you liked this one, check out my book on malaphors, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available underneath on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0692652205

A little bit of a tightrope that the Democrats have to run

This mashup was uttered by Frank Thorp V on MSNBC last Saturday.  It is a conflation of “walk a tightrope” (be in a situation where one must be extremely cautious) and “run the gauntlet” (enduring a series of problems, threats, or criticisms).  “Running” and “walking” might have led to the speaker’s confusion, or perhaps in the end the Democrats really had to run across that tightrope!  A big thanks to Frank King who heard this one and ran it in.

We’ve never sought to depose every witness under the face of the sun

Adam Schiff, House Manager in the Trump Impeachment Trial, uttered this in response to the President’s counsel’s comment that witnesses would be endless and that the trial could drag on until the next election.  Here is the context and the quote:

Taking up additional witnesses “could be done very quickly, effectively, we’ve never sought to depose every witness under the face of the sun,” Schiff later added, noting that a select four witnesses have been specified by House managers as “particularly appropriate and relevant” to their case.


This is a terrific congruent conflation of ” everything under the sun” and “on the face of the earth”, both meaning all things in existence, or everything one can reasonably imagine.  The speaker apparently was thinking of the earth and the sun at the same time.  A big thanks to Bruce Ryan for hearing this one and sending it in.  Bruce has the ears of a hawk.