He’s crazy as a bat

You can guess who the speaker was referring to.  This is a nice congruent conflation of “crazy as a bedbug (or loon)” and “batshit crazy”, both describing someone who is insane.  “Bats in the belfry” also come to mind, although that is an old-fashioned phrase.  “Crazy like a fox” (clever) might have been in the mix, but I doubt it based on the person the speaker was referring to.  Hint:  he denigrates war heroes, and even when they’re dead.


I smell a fish

This is a nice congruent conflation of “I smell a rat” and “there’s something fishy going on”, both meaning to be suspicious of some wrong doing.  Of course, fish do smell, so no wonder the speaker was confused.  This one reminds me of my malaphor book, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”.  Have I mentioned it is available on Amazon?

A big thanks to Claire Hooper for hearing this one and passing it on.

He’s like a kid in a china shop

I heard this one from a neighbor.  She was talking about her husband’s love of gadgets, and that he recently received a new tool that he was crazy about.  This is an incongruent conflation of “like a kid in a candy shop” (so excited about something that they behave in a child-like way) and “like a bull in a china shop” (clumsily destructive).  The mixup derives from the similar sounding words “china” and “candy”, the word “shop” used in both phrases, and that the two phrases are equal in words and structure (“like a blank in a blank shop”).


Right out of the get-go

This was heard on a podcast.  It is a nice congruent conflation of “from the get-go” and “right out of the gate” (immediately, right from the start).  Lots of alliteration in this one, contibuting to the mashup.  This is not a malaphor in Pittsburgh, however.  It means “just finished getting gas”.  A big thanks to Vicki Ameel-Kovacs for hearing this one!

It landed with a dud

This one was overheard at a meeting.  Someone was describing a failed product launch.  It is a congruent conflation of “landed with a thud” and “a dud”, both meaning something that did not work as intended, or was ineffective.  Of course dud and thud rhyme and sound alike, likely the source of the malaphor.  A big thanks to Peter Hopkins who heard this one and sent it in.

She’s lying out of her teeth

This one was uttered by a guy accused of shooting a woman in the face with a crossbow.  Heard on a Memphis local news network, WREG.  Here’s the video:

Man accused of shooting woman in face with crossbow denies claims: ‘She’s lying out of her teeth’

This is a conflation of “lying through (one’s) teeth” (to lie brazenly) and “out of (one’s) mind” (crazy).  Or is it possible she had dentures?  A big thanks to Lou Pugliese for hearing this one and sending it in.

Is it “Defend On Your Own” night?

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!