You dance with the devil you came with

Ike Reese (former football player for the Philadelphia Eagles) on the Marks and Reese sports talk radio show (WIP, 94.1), was discussing QB Carson Wentz’s risky play of diving and sliding to make a first down.  This is a nice mashup of “dance with the devil (or death)” (do something dangerous, risky or on the wild side) and “dance with the one that brung ya” (be loyal or attentive to the one who has been supportive).  So perhaps Ike was saying, “stick to the risky behavior that has made you successful”?  Maybe this can be a follow-up song for Shania Twain as well?  A big thank you to Linda Bernstein who heard this one and passed it on!

The book is running away from the charts

A TV host was interviewing an author, and commenting on the author’s successful book (on the NY Times bestseller list).  This seems to be a mashup of “run away with” (win handily) and “off the charts” (spectacular).  Both phrases refer to something or someone having success, hence the mixup in context.  A big thanks to Verbatim for hearing this one and sending it in.

Speaking of books running away from the charts, check out my malaphor book, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available on Amazon.  They’re selling like butter!

Why climate change deniers are running out of rope

This is actually the title of an article in The Guardian:

It is a mashup of “running out of time” (to no longer have any time left to finish an activity) and, based on the context,  I believe “on the ropes” (close to defeat).  “At the end of (one’s) rope” (completely worn out) might also be in the mix as both idioms refer to the end of an activity.  A big thanks to John Kooser who spotted this one in plain sight.

They’ll be coming with guns out

The speaker (contributor’s mom) was referring to Republicans when she heard that an impeachment inquiry on Trump was starting.  This is a mashup of “with all guns blazing” (forcefully and with a strong sense of purpose)  and “knives out” (people eager to criticize another).  Perhaps in this era “guns out” is more appropriate than knives.  A big thanks to Sandor Kovacs who heard this one and passed it on.

They will kick the can down the bucket

The speaker was talking about whether the EU would give England another extension on Brexit, and that more than likely an extension would be approved.  This is a mashup of “kick the can down the road” (to postpone or defer a definitive action) and “kick the bucket” (to die).  “Kick” is the common word here, and “cans” and “buckets” are similar objects which probably led to the mixup.   I can’t help think that also the “ck” sound might have muddied the mental waters.  A big thanks to Nate Shand for uttering this one and then allowing me to share it with the malaphor world.

They have their backs up against the corner

MSNBC commentator Yamiche Alcindor uttered this one when talking about the White House after Pelosi’s impeachment announcement.  This is a near perfect congruent conflation of “backed into a corner” and “back to the wall”, both meaning to be in a high-pressure situation with no escape.  “Back up” (to obstruct) might also be in the mix, given the recent news.  A big thanks to David Stephens for hearing this one and passing it on!


Let’s put this horse to bed

The speaker and his co-worker were talking about a situation that they didn’t need to talk about anymore. In order to signal it was time to wrap things up the speaker said “Let’s put this horse to bed.”  This is a nice congruent conflation of “put (something) to bed” and “put a horse out to pasture”, meaning to finish or retire something.  Perhaps the speaker dredged up in his mind the Godfather scene with the horse head in bed.  That certainly finalized things.  A big thanks to Joel for actually unintentionally uttering this one and sending it in.