I’m just waiting for the next ball to drop

This was uttered in an interview.  It is a mash up of “wait for the other shoe to drop” (wait for the next seemingly unavoidable thing to happen” and “drop the ball” (make a mistake).  The speaker may have been thinking of the New Year’s Eve ball in Times Square, and waiting for it to drop to usher in the new year.  Or perhaps the Road Runner cartoon where the anvil eventually drop on his head.  “Drop” is the culprit here, appearing in both idioms.  This malaphor seems very appropriate these days in the U.S.  A big thanks to Sam Edelmann who heard this one and dropped it on me.


I’ve just spent the last thirty years busting my arse off

This mix up can be heard by Gordon Ramsay on his Masterclass trailer.  It is a congruent conflation of “worked my arse off” and “busted my ass”, both meaning to work very hard at something.  The former idiom is heard primarily in the UK, while the latter is heard mostly in the US.  This malaphor, then, is perhaps an “across the pond” blend?  Maybe Ramsay spent too much time in Hollywood.  The posterior seems to be popular in malaphors.  To see more, type “ass” in the search engine on the website.  You’ll see such classics as “he was drunk out of his ass” and “you need to get your ass together”.

A big thanks to Ben Glass who heard this one and sent it in.  You can hear the malaphor by clicking this link:


Now we get into the heat of the meat

Stephen Colbert, in his 7/25/18 monologue, uttered this one when discussing the Cohen tape on the Trump payoff of the McDougall matter.  Here’s the link to the video:

It is a mashup of “in the heat of the moment” (doing something without thinking) and “the meat of the matter” (the most important or essential element of an issue or problem).  “Heart of the matter” (same definition as “meat of the matter”) might also be in play, as “heart” and “heat” are similar in sound and looks.  A big thanks to Sam Edelmann for hearing this one and sending it in.

I set the die that day

Sean Spicer​, during an interview with the BBC, regretted his poor performance in discussing the size of the Trump inauguration crowd ​on his first day as Press Secretary.  he then uttered this classic.  It is a mashup of “set the tone” (establish the manner in which something will be conducted) and “the die is cast” (a course of action is finalized).  My guess is that the speaker was thinking of die casting, the process used to produce metal parts.  Given the amount of lies from Mr. Spicer’s boss’s lips in the past two years, I think he definitely set the die.

“My Ol’ Pal” has a slightly different take.  She says: “When Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon, he was said to have stated “The die is cast,” meaning that he had decided the fate of Rome. Perhaps Sean Spicer was thinking that he had determined the future of the administration’s falsifications with his pronouncement about the size of the crowd at the inauguration.”  Indeed.  For the quote, see 3:55 mark at:

A big thanks to David Barnes for hearing this one and sending it in.

It’s sometimes not up to Hoyle

A reviewer was describing a new form and this malaphor was born.  It is a congruent conflation of “according to Hoyle” and “up to snuff”, both expressions meaning something that is to acceptable standards or rules.  The phrase “according to Hoyle” refers to 17th-Century British writer Edmond Hoyle, who wrote extensively on the rules of card games.  A big thanks to Mary Webster for sharing this one.

Trump continues to play straight out of Putin’s pocket

This terrific mashup was spoken by Joe Scarborough on his show, “Morning Joe”, on July 17, 2018.  It is a conflation of “a page out of (someone’s) playbook” (to behave or act like someone else) and “in (someone’s) pocket” (under someone’s direct control or influence).  This mix up has its own unique connotation: someone who is directed by someone else and is following that person’s command or orders.  A big thanks to James Kozlowski for hearing this one and sending it in.

Trump held Michael Cohen at arm’s distance

This ditty was uttered on July 20 by Stephanie Ruhle on MSNBC’s “Velshi and Ruhle”.  It is a nice congruent conflation of “at arm’s length” and “keep at a distance”, both meaning to keep someone from becoming too close.  Perhaps a “distance” is farther than an “arm”?  I imagine that fits in this context.  A big thanks to Frank King, the Mental Health Comedian, for hearing this one and sending it in.