Those are bitter grapes to swallow

Martin Pietrucha, loyal malaphor follower, unintentionally uttered this one the other night while talking with his kids.  It is a mashup of “sour grapes” (someone is angry or bitter because he has not gotten something that he wants) and “a bitter pill to swallow” (an unwanted situation that someone is forced to accept).  “Sour” and “bitter” seem to be the culprits here, both are two of the five basic tastes (sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami).  Also one swallows grapes as well as pills.  A big thanks to Martin for sending this one in.


All the stacks are in his favor

Helene Cooper, reporter for the New York Times, speaking about Joe Biden, uttered this nice one on Meet the Press.  It’s an incongruent conflation of “the odds are in (someone’s) favor” (someone is likely to win) and “the deck (or cards) is stacked against (someone)”  Ms. Cooper is a regular on this site, having uttered more than a few malaphors.  A big thanks to Robert J. Smith for hearing this one and passing it on.


You were out like a log

While I posted this one way back in 2012, it bears repeating as I think it is one of the purest congruent conflations out there, and a common one as well.  The speaker was talking about her lack of sleep the previous night but that her husband slept soundly, describing him as being out like a log.  This is a congruent conflation of “slept like a log” and “out like a light”, both referring to sound sleep.  There are a lot of the letter L in both expressions, contributing to the mix up.  A big thanks to Donna Calvert for sending this one in.  Glad to hear Bill is sleeping well in retirement.


Congratulations Coach Reid! You finally got the hump off of your back

This malaphor was tweeted by former NFL player Brian Dawkins (safety for the Philadelphia Eagles):

@BrianDawkins
CONGRATULATIONS COACH REID!! You finally got the hump off of your back. You have been a blessing to so many of us as a Coach yes, but also as a man. You’ve learned & given so much to so many… You Earned it!! LOVE YOU!!! #BigRed #SuperBowlChampion
This is a congruent conflation of “over the hump” and “monkey off (one’s) back”, both meaning to get over a persistent problem.  The speaker may have been thinking of a “hump back”, or perhaps a “hunchback”, but I don’t recall Coach Reid with one.  When I received this malaphor, I immediately thought of Igor (Marty Feldman) from the movie Young Frankenstein who deliberately swapped which side the hump on his back was located, saying, “What hump?”  A big thanks to Jim Kozlowski, loyal Eagles fan, for spotting this gem.

I have a job underneath the books

This was heard at an administrative hearing.  The speaker was talking about work that he was currently performing.  It is a congruent conflation of “off the books” and “under the table”, both meaning to do something in secret so that taxes won’t be paid.  Then again, maybe the speaker works in the basement of a library.  A follow up question hopefully was made.  A big thanks to John Costello for hearing this one.

If you liked this one, check out my book on malaphors, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available underneath on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0692652205


How many cracks at the apple is this guy going to get?

This one was overheard in a conversation between a lawyer and the judge in a court proceeding.   This is a nice congruent conflation of “a second bite of the apple” and “cracks at the bat”, both meaning additional opportunities.  “Take a crack at (something)” (an attempt) is probably also in the mix.  Perhaps the speaker was thinking of William Tell or maybe a pinata party.  Kudos to Matin Pietrucha who heard this one and sent it in.


A little bit of a tightrope that the Democrats have to run

This mashup was uttered by Frank Thorp V on MSNBC last Saturday.  It is a conflation of “walk a tightrope” (be in a situation where one must be extremely cautious) and “run the gauntlet” (enduring a series of problems, threats, or criticisms).  “Running” and “walking” might have led to the speaker’s confusion, or perhaps in the end the Democrats really had to run across that tightrope!  A big thanks to Frank King who heard this one and ran it in.