Columbia Law School professor Berit Berger uttered this one on the MSNBC show “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams”. She was discussing the pardon system and the Manafort case. This is a mashup of “turn (something) on its head” (to alter something in an unexpected way) and “throw it out the window” (forgotten, disregarded). “Turning” and “throwing” seems to have caused the mixup here. A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one.
The contributor says her husband says this when she doesn’t feel like cooking for dinner. The malaphor prompts a visual of the family opening the refrigerator and fighting for the best leftovers. This is a mashup of “stand on one’s (own) two feet” (act independently) and “fend for (oneself)” (take care of oneself without the assistance of others). I suppose the speaker was thinking of the word “fend” but uttered “defend” instead. A tip of the hat to Lori Snider for sending this one in!
Heard on the MSNBC show with Chris Hayes. This is a conflation of “scared stiff” (utterly terrified) and “worried sick” (very concerned about a person or situation). I have heard this one a lot. “Sick” and “stiff” are similar sounding words, contributing to the mashup. A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one!
If you liked this one, check out my book on malaphors, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”. It’s available on Amazon for a cheap $7.99. Just click on the link – https://www.amazon.com/dp/0692652205
Heard on MSNBC by Matt Miller, a former spokesperson for the Justice Department. He was talking about Rudy Giuliani and his off the cuff (“shoots off the cuff?”) remarks in interviews. This is a triple congruent conflation of “off the top of one’s head”, “pluck (something) out of thin air”, and “pull (something) out of a hat”, all meaning a random thought. “Head” and “hat” get confused a lot and that’s what appears to have happened here. As you know, the usual thing pulled out of a hat is a rabbit. As “my ol’ pal” notes, tThe more usual metaphor nowadays is “pull things out of his ass” (making things up) which is probably closer to the meaning of what Matt Miller was trying to convey about Giuliani. For obvious reasons he probably substituted “head” for “ass” at the last second. Thus the birth of this malaphor.
This one was heard at a retirement party for an organist/choirmaster. In recounting her history, the organist talked about how her mother had a great sense of rhythm, which she inherited. This is a mashup of “dance up a storm” (dance with intensity) and “drink you under the table” (to be able to drink more alcohol than someone else). Drinking and dancing both start with the letter “d” and both actions are often both associated together, hence the mix up.
The phrase appears in the Urban Dictionary with a decidedly different definition. https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Danced%20Her%20Under%20The%20Table. A tip of the hat to Barry Eigen, who heard this one and submitted it to Malaphor Central.
This is a word blend of “”turnaround” ( a complete change in opinion or method) and “comeback” (a return to popularity). As I have noted before in previous posts, malaphors can be word blends or idiom blends. The word blend seems to be a less common phenomenon.