Floods of laughter

This one was uttered by a work colleague talking about an Andy Kaufman bit that had an audience in “floods of laughter”.  It is a mash up of “flood of tears” (crying a lot) and “gales of laughter” (laughing a lot).  Not sure if the speaker is from the UK but if so “shakes with laughter” (uncontrollable laughter) might also be in the mix.  Certainly gales (strong winds) can be associated with flooding caused by a hurricane.  I would much prefer a flood of laughter, however.  A big thanks to Matt Whittaker for hearing this one and sending it in.


He’s laid down a line

Harry Litman was discussing Trump on MSNBC and uttered this nice malaphor.  It is a mash up of “lay down the law” (give an order or directive) and “draw a line” (to set a boundary). “Lay”, “line”, and “law” all seem to be part of the scramble here.  Mr. Litman has been the subject of a previous malaphor (“take no quarter” and was very good natured about it.  A true Pittsburgher, full of grace!  A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one and sending it in.

It struck a heart string with many

This beauty comes from a Fox News article about Wendy’s employees making a blind couple’s eating experience a good one.  The article states that “it struck a heart string with many.”  This is a congruent conflation of “strike a chord” and “tug at (one’s) heart strings”, both meaning to elicit a strong emotional response to something.  “Tugging” and “striking” are action words touching something and are probably the source of the mix up.  Certainly one can make “chords” with “strings”, and perhaps the author was thinking of “cords” instead of “chords” as cords are strings.  This is a classic malaphor.  A big thanks to Margaret Grover for spotting this one and sending it in.

I have heard my malaphor book, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available on Amazon, has struck many a heart string.  You can get it now for a cheap $6.99 (normally $7.99).


You need to put your ducks in one basket

This one was overheard at a business meeting.  It is a nice conflation of “get your ducks in a row” (get well-organized) and “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” (don’t risk everything on one venture).  Idioms containing the words eggs, ducks, or baskets seem to get commonly jumbled.  Type any one of these words in the search and you will find many postings on the subjects.  A big thanks to John Hatfield III for hearing this one and sending it in.

It sent shivers up my skin

The submitter was out with some friends for dinner when this was suddenly uttered.  An instant malaphor alert went off.  This is a nice, alliterative congruent conflation (best kind of malaphor, imho) of “send shivers up (one’s) spine” and “makes (one’s) skin crawl”, both meaning to cause to feel frightened or unnerved.  Spine and skin are mixed here, and the visual of shivers crawling.  Certainly your skin shivers when you’re cold, so the mixup is quite expected.  A big thank you to Steve Grieme for hearing this one and passing it on!

I want to get the elephant out of the room

This was uttered in a general session meeting at a conference.  The speaker was trying to raise an issue that was well-known to all but was avoided in discussion.  I believe it is a mashup of “the elephant in the room” (a serious problem that everyone is aware of but choose not to mention) and “out in the open” (expose something for public knowledge).  The beauty of this malaphor is that it contains idioms that are opposites: one exposing something that is hidden and the other keeping something hidden that should be exposed.  “Out on the table” might also be in the mix.
As any loyal follower knows, idioms involving elephants are frequently mixed.  Type in “elephant” and see the many posts.  There is also a chapter in my book, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors” (Amazon) devoted to elephants.  A big thanks to John Costello for hearing this one and sharing it.  Also a big thanks to Cheryl Rosato for her “elephant in the room” drawing and for illustrating the malaphor book!

We did everything from soup to finish

Overheard at a business meeting.  This is a congruent conflation of “from soup to nuts” and “from start to finish”, both meaning to provide for the full range, with the beginning to the end in mind.  Reminds me of an earlier one I posted, “let’s get down to the soup and nuts of it.”

A big thanks to Dave Julian for hearing this one and Marianne Julian for passing it on!