Over the rails

ABC’s Martha Raddatz reporting on the upcoming Biden-Putin summit: “if they can come out together, if it doesn’t go out over the rails, that is some sign of success”. This is a congruent conflation of “off the rails” and “over the edge” both meaning to be out of control or excessive. A big thank you to Steve Grieme for hearing this one!


Straight off the hip

This is a rare “tri-form” malaphor uttered by Jonah Johnston in the show, “7 Little Johnstons”. Jonah was talking about the sports podcast he and his two friends started. Here’s the clip:

This is a triple mashup, consisting of “straight from the heart” (with deep sincerity), “right off the bat” (immediately), and “shoot from the hip” (to speak rashly without considering the consequences). “Straight off the bat” is a valid idiom (see Free Dictionary), but I submit an uncommon one and probably not in the speaker’s mind. The above three seem to be swirling around in Jonah’s brain. A huge thank you to Mike Kovacs for hearing this unicorn.

It’s all peaches and roses

Retired Los Angeles Police Homicide Detective Greg Kading uttered this one on Season 1, Episode 1 of the Netflix series Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel. It’s a nice congruent conflation of “peaches and cream” and “a bed of roses”, both describing an easy, comfortable situation. This one is reminiscent of an earlier post, “four more years of fun and roses”. https://malaphors.com/2020/10/23/four-more-years-of-fun-and-roses/

A big thank you to Vicki and Mike Kovacs for sending this one in.

That ship has flown

The speaker was playing an online board game and made a comment about how it was too late for anyone else to win the game. She then uttered this nice malaphor. It is a mashup of “that ship has sailed” (some possiblity ot option is no longer available or likely) and “fly the coop” (to leave or escape (something)). This one is similar to the Austin Powers’ malaphor I posted a few years ago: “That train has sailed.” https://malaphors.com/2015/11/13/that-train-has-sailed/ Transportation mixups.

A tip of the hat to Andy Jacobs for hearing this one and passing it on! Thank you Andy!

It was earth-changing

ABC’s 20/20 aired an episode about a woman’s fraudulent fiance. He told her they were to be married by the Pope and their guests at the wedding mass could include their gay friends and that the gay friends could receive communion. The friend then uttered this great malaphor. Here is the video snippet:

This is a congruent conflation of “earth-shattering/shaking” and “life-changing” , both meaning something having a powerful effect. Maybe also thoughts about climate change going on in the speaker’s head? A tip of the hat to Mike Kovacs for hearing this one and sending it in.

Just by the nick of the hair

Heard this one today on The Price is Right. A contestant said this after spinning the big wheel with the arrow barely landing on the right amount. This is a congruent conflation of “just in the nick of time” and “by a hair”, both describing an extremely slim or short margin. A big thanks to Elaine Hatfield for hearing this one and yelling it to me upstairs.

The inmates are going to be running this ship

Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont) was talking about McConnell’s demand that the Democrats promise to keep the filibuster intact. Tester noted that the Democrats are now in the majority and should not accede to McConnell’s demand. Here is the quote:

“Chuck Schumer is the majority leader and he should be treated like majority leader. We can get sh** done around here and we ought to be focused on getting stuff done,” said Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.). “If we don’t, the inmates are going to be running this ship.”


This is a mashup of “the inmates are running the asylum” (the people least capable of running an organization are now in charge) and I believe “rats leaving/deserting a sinking ship” (the least loyal people will be the first to abandon a project). My guess is that Tester thought of Republicans and then associated them with rats, activating this nice malaphor.

The Capitol was ground central

D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine was talking about the insurrection on Good Morning America. Here’s the quote:

“Clearly, the Capitol was ground central in the mob’s behavior. Donald Trump Jr, Rudy Giuliani, even the president were calling on supporters and hate groups to go to the Capitol, and in Rudy’s words, ‘exercise combat justice,'” said Racine. “We’re going to investigate not only the mob, but those who incited the violence.”


This is a mashup of “ground zero” (the site of any disaster) and “grand central station” (a place that is very busy or chaotic). This conflation results in a phrase that describes a chaotic place of disaster, certainly an apt description of what happened in the U.S. Capitol. Also a nice coffee shop! A big thanks to Linda Bernstein who caught this one and sent it in!

Trump led us down the tubes

This beauty was seen on a Facebook comment, discussing Trump supporters storming the United States Capitol. It is a conflation of “going down the tubes” (to become much worse) and I think, given the context, “lead (someone) down the garden path” (to deceive or mislead someone). The mashup takes on a whole new meaning, and describes the situation perfectly. Interestingly, I posted a previous malaphor that Trump uttered and is a close one: “Clinton is selling them down the tubes”. See https://malaphors.com/2016/08/28/clinton-is-selling-them-down-the-tubes/

A big thank you to David Stephens for spotting this one and sending it in!

He’s paid his time

Ali Velshi on MSNBC was talking about pardons, and those who should be pardoned. He then uttered this nice congruent conflation of “done (one’s) time” and “paid (one’s) dues/debts”, both meaning to have served a sentence. A tip of the Santa hat to Frank King for hearing this one and sending it in.