The USFL went down in smoke because of Trump

I am guilty of this one.  I was talking to my wife about what happened when Trump convinced the USFL owners to change the schedule from the Spring to the Fall season in order to compete head to head against the NFL.  This is a congruent conflation of “up in smoke” and “down in flames”, both meaning something failed or was destroyed.  Flames and smoke are the culprits here.  Also down and up.  Directionally challenged semantically?


It’s got everything under the book

The speaker was describing all the rides and other attractions at a particular amusement park and blurted this malaphor out.  It’s a nice conflation of “everything under the sun” (nearly everything one can reasonably imagine) and I believe “by the book” (strictly following the rules).  However, because of the word “every”, the mix up could include “every trick in the book” (every possible way to achieve something).   There may also be a malaphor thyme, here, and the speaker might have been thinking of the phrase “look under the hood” (examine the engine in a car).  A shout out to Caleb Harris for hearing this one and sending it in!

If you enjoyed this one, check out every malaphor under the book in “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, my new book available on Amazon for a mere 6.99.  That comes down to a penny a laugh.

I’m walking on eggs and needles when he’s around

This descriptive malaphor was uttered by a housemate in college, referring to the submitter.  It is a nice mixture of “walking on eggshells” (to act with great care as to not upset anyone) and “on pins and needles” (anxious).  Both phrases involve anxiety or nervousness and also contain the preposition “on”, adding to the confusion.  Certainly the speaker was not “walking on sunshine”.  This malaphor reminds me of an oldie but goodie posted awhile ago about nervous employees waiting for a promotion announcement:  “They were sitting on their hands and needles.”  Also this one:,  A shout out to Stanley Dubinsky who shared this one.

They keep kicking themselves in the foot

During the second intermission of the Penguins/Capitals hockey game last night, a commentator asked why the Capitals keep “kicking themselves in the foot.”  This is a nice mashup of “kick yourself (or themselves)” (annoyed with yourself for doing something) and “shooting yourself (themselves) in the foot” (to cause oneself difficulty).  Shooting and kicking are the culprits of the mix up.  A tip of the toque to Steve Kovacs for sharing this one.


We are breaking the air

The speaker was talking about meeting new people when moving to university, and uttered this nice malaphor.  It is a mashup of “clearing the air” (to remove doubt from a situation) and “breaking the ice” (to do something that reduces tension or unfamiliarity).  I couldn’t help think that “breaking wind” (farting) might also have been in the mix, as wind and air might have been confused.  However, farting was probably not what the speaker wants to do when meeting new people, and then again, perhaps a freudian slip?  Anyway, it’s a nice mix up and a big thanks to bittenbyfrost for sending this one in!

Those politicians are just a crowd of gravy diggers

This one was overheard recently from malaphor follower Pat Mattimoe.  Pat says “this is what happens when the gold-diggers get on the gravy train.”  It’s a nice mashup of “gold digger” (a person who only pursues romantic relationships for financial gain) and “on the gravy train” (to be in a position of making lots of money without expending much effort).  Both phrases involve getting lots of money.  Perhaps the speaker had the monster truck jam tv commercial that always includes “Gravedigger!!”.  Who knows?  All I know it is an excellent malaphor.  Thanks Pat!

Let’s get all our ducks on the same page

This little ditty was overhead at a service desk.  It is a nice congruent conflation of “get your ducks in a row” and “get on the same page”, both meaning to get organized.  Phrases using ducks to get things organized seem to confuse folks a lot.  For example, I previously posted “she needs to get her ducks in order” (thanks to Matt Lauer for that one!) and “we need to get our ducks together” .  I’m not trying to be a wise quacker here.  Just pointing it out.  A big thanks to Carolyn Atkins for hearing this one and passing it on!