I’m going to go with my first gut

A college student was tired of over thinking multiple choice test questions and said this malaphor.  It is a nice mashup of “first impression” (opinion formed on first meeting someone) and “gut feeling” (an instinct or intuition about something).  Both expressions involve immediate reactions to something, and are visceral in nature.  Of course, a tight belt forms a first and second gut as well.  A big thanks to John Kooser who heard this one and passed it on.

You let the horse out of the cart

This is a nice mashup of “put the cart before the horse” (have things in the wrong order or mixed up) and “let the cat out of the bag” (to reveal a secret or a surprise by accident).  Lots going on in this one.  “Cat” and “cart” are similar looking and sounding so they are definitely culprits in this mental mixup.  Prepositions are often the cause of malaphors, and in this one, “out” and “before” seem to be in play.  The speaker might have conjured up a feed bag for horses when he was thinking bag.  Both phrases involve order, whether putting things in or putting them before something else.  Yes, this is a classic malaphor, perfectly structured and multi-layered.  A bravo to Bob Edwards for burping this one up and Susan Edwards for quickly writing it down and sending it in!

Did you like this one?  Want to see more?  Check out my book “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors” available on Amazon.  You’ll want to read it from front to cover.