This was uttered by Congressman Max Rose (D-NY) on MSNBC’s Morning Joe show. Rose was talking about efforts to pass gun legislation and he said, referring to Trump, “this President, I believe, has no inner core beliefs. He flows with the wind.” This is a congruent conflation of “goes with the flow” and “blows with the wind”, both meaning to act according to prevailing circumstances rather than a consistent plan. “Blow” rhymes with “flow” which could have contributed to the mashup. A shout out to Mike Kovacs for hearing this one and sending it in. Picture suggested by Mike!
The speaker was talking about someone who needed to be careful. This is a mashup of “walking on thin ice” (to proceed with caution or great care) and I think “in deep water” (an overwheming situation) because of the context. However, “walk on water” (do something extraordinary or impossible) certainly should not be ruled out, as it is scrambled in the malaphor. A shout out to David Stephens who heard this one. David said that he recently slipped on a wet floor and broke his toe so this malaphor really resonated with him.
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Bob Phillips, state director of the advocacy group Common Cause, uttered this one to The Guardian. Here is the full quote to give you context:
“Unfortunately, the Democrats, some of them will say, ‘We can’t wait to win in 2020, take it back and gerrymander the hell out of them’,” said Phillips. “Now, that’s not what I want, but it’s out there, and it’s playing in the minds of the majority party. If you are the majority party and you don’t do reform, one day you might be on the other side of the stick.”: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jul/27/us-supreme-court-2020-election-gerrymandering.
This is a mashup of “other side of the coin” (opposite aspect of something) and “short end of the stick” (unequal outcome of a deal that results in a disadvantage). Ends and sides must be the reason for this mental scramble. A big thanks to Barry Eigen for spotting this one.
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Ayman Mohyeldin on MSNBC uttered this one when he was talking about Trey Gowdy and Republicans criticizing Democrats and Mueller’s testimony. It is a congruent conflation of “not holding back” and “not pulling any punches”, both meaning to act without restraint or limitations. The congruent conflation to me is the purest form of a malaphor. The speaker is thinking of the correct idiom but there are other idioms that mean the same thing swirling in the brain. A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this subtle but classic malaphor. @AymanM
The speaker was lamenting about his unproductive efforts. This is a classic congruent conflation of “spinning my wheels” and “chasing my tail”, both meaning to take action that is ineffectual or does not lead to progress. The speaker may have had an image of a cat or dog spinning around trying to catch his tail. A tip of the hat to Steve Grieme who heard this one uttered by a friend and passed it on.
The speaker was discussing a contract that was particularly difficult to draft. It is a nice mashup of “rough (or tough) sledding” (difficult or turbulent period of time or undertaking) and “slow going” (a state of slow or arduous process). Both idioms refer to a difficult process that is slow, tedious, and difficult. The speaker also might have been thinking “snow sledding”, given the unusually hot temperatures right now. A big thanks to Donna Doblick who confessed that she was indeed the speaker and for sharing this one. It happens to us all, Donna.