He pulls those hat tricks out of the bag

This awesome conflation was uttered by Lane Johnson, Philadelphia Eagles right tackle, talking about his quarterback Carson Wentz.  A lot is going on in this malaphor.  “A bag of tricks” (skills one is able to use) and “pull a trick (on someone)” (to carry out a trick) are both in the mix, as well as “pull a rabbit out of the hat” (to do something that is seemingly impossible), the latter which is probably what the speaker was looking for.  The beauty of this one is that he adds “hat trick” (same player scores three goals in a hockey game), applying a hockey term to football.  Here is the link to this mash up:

A big thanks to Jim Kozlowski for spotting this one and sending it in.  A classic for sure.


They are not putting all their marbles in one basket

This one is from the ESPN show “Pardon the Interruption” (PTI).  There was a discussion about the Lakers and LeBron James’ free agency. Michael Wilbon reported that Magic Johnson [the Lakers’ director of basketball operations] stated that they are not putting all their marbles in one basket. Even Tony Kornheiser then pointed out to Michael that it should have been eggs, not marbles.  This is a nice conflation of “for all the marbles” (all the winnings, spoils, or rewards) and “put all your eggs in one basket” (to invest all of one’s energy in a single venture).  Marbles resemble eggs and vice versa so this is probably the reason for the mix up.  A big thanks to Gerry Abbott for hearing this one and sending it in.

If you liked this malaphor, check out THE book on malaphors, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available on Amazon at   Buying it is like putting all your malaphors in one basket.

He was drunk out of his ass

I love this one.  This was overheard outside a bar.  It is a mashup of “drunk off his ass” (very intoxicated) and “out of his mind” (crazy).  Crazy drunk?  Upside down?  A big thanks to Anthony Kovacs for hearing this one and sending it in!

I need to catch my bearings

A person was getting overwhelmed trying to do too many things at once.  He then blurted out that “I need to stop and catch my bearings.”  This is a mashup of “get my bearings” (figure out one’s position relative to one’s surroundings) and “catch my breath” (relax, take a break).  “Bearings” and “breath” start with a “b”, causing the malaphor.  Also, both phrases indicate someone pausing before proceeding.  A big thanks to John Kooser for hearing this one and passing it on.

If you enjoyed deconstructing this mixup you will love my book on malaphors, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available on Amazon.  Catch your bearings and then head to your computer to order it for a cheap 6.99.

Will it pay fruit?

“The Master of Malaphors” Chris Matthews said this beauty on his show on June 13, talking about Cohen possibly flipping on Trump.  It is a congruent conflation of “pay off”, “pay dividends”, and “bear fruit”, all meaning to yield positive benefits or results. Let the flipping begin, and see the many bananas and apples appear.

By the way, loyal followers might cry foul on this one as I posted this malaphor last November.  True, but when “The Master” speaks, I must post.  A big thanks to “Hawkear” Frank King for hearing this one.

Shudder in its tracks

This was found in the Ars Technica website, a site covering news and opinions in technology, science, and politics.  Here is the full quote:

“That ruthlessly efficient system helped bubonic plague kill nearly 25 million people and made the ancient world shudder in its tracks during the Justinian plague of 541–542.”

It is a conflation of “shudder to think” (afraid to think about something as it may be unpleasant) and “stop/freeze/halt (someone or something)(dead) in its tracks” (suddenly stop because something has frightened or surprised you).  Considering the context, the author might have been thinking about death and the word “dead” may have been floating around in the head, spewing out “in its tracks”.  A big thanks to Barry Eigen for spotting this one.  Barry said the malaphor also reminded him of the expression “shaking (shivering) in their boots”.  Me too!

She bought the Kool Aid

A friend and his wife were watching t.v.  The wife uttered this, discussing someone who believed what they heard.  It is a congruent conflation of “drinking the Kool Aid” and “buy into it”, both meaning to go along or believe in an idea because of peer pressure.   The former expression derives from the November 1978 Jonestown deaths, in which over 900 members of the Peoples Temple, who were followers of Jim Jones, died, many of whom committed suicide by drinking a mixture of a powdered soft-drink flavoring agent laced with cyanide and prescription drugs ValiumPhenergan, and chloral hydrate, while the rest of the members, including 89 infants and elderly, were killed by forced ingestion of the poison.  A big thanks to Martin Pietrucha for hearing this one and passing it on!