A daughter was telling her father about a recent test. This is a mashup of “know it like the back of my hand” (extremely familiar with something) and “off the top of my head” (from memory without careful consideration). Either this is a malaphor or maybe she actually had the materials written on her hand? A big thanks to John Kooser for hearing this one.
2020 has started off on the right foot, malaphor wise. On New Year’s Day, Christiane Amanpour said this beauty on CNN’s “New Day”. Let’s go to the transcript:
It is a congruent conflation of “put your finger on it” and hit the nail on the head” (and “nailed it”), all meaning to describe a situation or problem exactly. The speaker might have been thinking of fingernails when she uttered this one. A big thanks to Ruth Dilts for nailing this one. @camanpour @NewDay
This was heard on a conference call. This is a nice baseball metaphor mashup of “hit it out of the park” (to do something successful or an outstanding achievement) and “right off the bat” (immediately, without delay). Now if the person had hit it right off the bat and out of the park that would be an immediate outstanding achievement, right? Or just a home run? By the way, it seems like hitting it out of the park is a favorite idiom to mashup. A few past examples for your reading pleasure are “we really nailed it out of the park” https://malaphors.com/2015/08/18/we-really-nailed-it-out-of-the-park/ and “they blew it out of the park” https://malaphors.com/2012/10/27/they-blew-it-out-of-the-park/ A big thanks to Mike Kovacs for hearing this one and sending it in right off the park to malaphor central.
The “Great Malaphor Hunter”, Mike Kovacs, uttered this one at lunch the other day. He was talking about Facebook posts and how people don’t engage in actual discussions with others with opposing views. This is a nice mashup of “live in a bubble” (separated from society or sheltered) and “echo chamber” (a metaphorical description of a situation in which beliefs are amplified or reinforced by communication and repetition inside a closed system). When I heard this, I immediately thought of Get Smart and the “cone of silence”. A big thanks to Anthony Kovacs for outting his Dad, malaphorically speaking.
It’s not too late to stuff that stocking with THE book on malaphors, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available on Amazon for a mere 7.99. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0692652205 That’s cheaper than those Altoids you were thinking of dropping in the Christmas sock.
Someone was referring to the Repbulicans’ defense in the Trump impeachment hearings. This is a nice word blend of “humbug” (deceptive or false talk) and “mumbo jumbo” (intended to cause confusion). Both expressions refer to misleading someone. Maybe it’s a new expression, meaning deceptive talk meant to confuse? A big thanks to John Kooser who overheard this one.
This was uttered by President Trump in a December 5, 2019 tweet. Here it is:
..trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business. We will have Schiff, the Bidens, Pelosi and many more testify, and will reveal, for the first time, how corrupt our system really is. I was elected to “Clean the Swamp,” and that’s what I am doing!
Trump’s mantra has always been “drain the swamp”, so I believe this is a malaphor, conflating “drain the swamp” with “clean house”, both meaning to wipe out corruption or inefficiency. A big thanks to Sandor Kovacs for spotting this one and sending it in.