Sometimes comments on Facebook produce great malaphors. This one is no exception. It was uttered by an anti-vaxxer accusing everyone of not knowing or wanting to know the “truth”. It is a mashup of “lambs (or pigs) to the slaughter” (innocently and helplessly, without realizing the danger) and “like lemmings” (doing things without fear or thought). Both idioms concern large numbers usually, and both refer to people who really aren’t thinking but merely following. I suppose when lemmings jump over the cliff they are going to their “slaughter”. A big thanks to Cassandra Anne who spotted this one on her facebook feed.
I heard this one from a guy from Nova Scotia, who was discussing how tourists tend to stick together. As with any good malaphor, it sounded somewhat right but just a little off. I then had to write it down to remember it (another attribute of a good malaphor). It is a congruent conflation of “acting like lemmings” and “herd of cattle”, both describing groups following an unthinking course. As the lemming is a rodent, it does not run in groups but is a solitary creature, although in popular culture they run in large groups toward mass destruction. Isn’t he/she cute?