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I’m biting at the dust

The speaker was nervously anticipating something.  This is a three-fer mashup I think.  “Champing at the bit” and “biting my nails” both meaning to anxiously await something, are clearly in the mix, and also “bites the dust” (to die) is in there.  Perhaps the anticipation was so exciting that she thought she was going to die?  In any event, a big thanks to Katie Mroczek for uttering this one and sending it on, with the help of Anthony Kovacs.

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Let’s put this horse to bed

The speaker and his co-worker were talking about a situation that they didn’t need to talk about anymore. In order to signal it was time to wrap things up the speaker said “Let’s put this horse to bed.”  This is a nice congruent conflation of “put (something) to bed” and “put a horse out to pasture”, meaning to finish or retire something.  Perhaps the speaker dredged up in his mind the Godfather scene with the horse head in bed.  That certainly finalized things.  A big thanks to Joel for actually unintentionally uttering this one and sending it in.


The President is having to deal with a den of vipers

This one was uttered by an evangelical Trump supporter.  It is a congruent conflation of “a nest of vipers” and “a den of thieves”, both meaning a group of individuals suspected of underhanded dealings.  “Den of iniquity” (a lot of immoral things happen there) might be in the mix, but I doubt it.  “Waliking into the lions’ den” (place yourself in a dangerous situation) certainly is in play given the context and its Biblical roots.  Here is the article where the malaphor is found:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/08/14/evangelicals-view-trump-their-protector-will-they-stand-by-him/?wpisrc=nl_rainbow&wpmm=1

A big thanks to Barry Eigen for spotting this one!


I’m going to hang low at home today

The speaker was not feeling well and uttered this nice mixup.  It is a conflation of “hang out” (to engage in some some frivolous time wasting) and “lay low” (to be hidden or inconspicuous).  “Feeling low” (feeling ill or sad) is probably also in the mix, considering the context.   A big thanks to David Barnes for hearing this one and passing it on.


They were running up a dead tree

A National Public Radio (NPR) correspondent was talking about a failed strategy.  This is a triple mashup of “barking up the wrong tree” (to attempt a futile course of action), “running on empty” (out of resources or in this case ideas), and “beating a dead horse” (continue to pursue something that cannot be done).  All three idioms involve futile or wasted attempts.  “Dead in the water” (completely defunct) might also be in the mix given the context.  That would make this a quad malaphor, something rarely seen or heard.  A big thanks to David Barnes for spotting this beauty.


It’s not number one on the burner

The Malaphorer in Chief, Donald Trump, uttered this beauty when he was discussing his idea to purchase Greenland.  “It’s not number one on the burner, I can tell you that.”  This is a congruent conflation of “not number one on the list” and “not on the front burner”, both meaning not a high priority.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/kudlow-says-white-house-is-looking-at-trying-to-buy-greenland/2019/08/18/ab367b6c-c1bb-11e9-b5e4-54aa56d5b7ce_story.html.

This one was heard by several loyal malaphor followers, including Barry Eigen, Donna Calvert, and Frank King.  This Trump malaphor is not the first.  Check my book out, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors” (available on Amazon) for more mashups from him.  There are also many more on this blog.  Search “Trump”.


They put me through hoops and ladders

A baker was referring to the health department inspection and uttered this mixup.  It is a conflation of “”jump through hoops” (force someone to face challenges) and “put (someone) through the wringer” (force someone to endure harsh criticism).  Both phrases involve requiring a person to do something, in this case a health department inspection, and both share the word “through”.  The speaker was also probably conjuring up in his mind the game “Chutes and Ladders”.  Kudos to Sam Edelmann who overheard this gem.