All your eggs lined up

This is a mix-up of “lining up your ducks in a row” and “all your eggs in one basket”.  Since ducks lay eggs, does the mind want to “scramble” eggs and ducks?


The phones have been ringing off the wall!

I heard this one on tv during a PBS fundraiser several years ago.  As with any good malaphor, I had to write it down immediately or I would have forgotten it.  This is a combination of “ringing off the hook” and “off the wall”.   It probably was said by someone my age or older, people who grew up with landline phones and where at least one phone was on the wall, usually the kitchen.    The phones at that telethon were not on the wall, however.


I was lost from the word start

I heard this one from a good friend and it sounded slightly wrong and yet it fit in context with the subject matter.  The best malaphors are the ones just slightly off kilter.  They also are difficult to remember as they blend into the lexicon landscape so effortlessly.  This subtle malaphor is a mix up of “from the word go” and “from the start”.


Put your shoulder to the grindstone

The Master uttered this advice to a co-worker many years ago.  A brilliant malaphor, it is a mix-up of “nose to the grindstone” and “put your shoulder to the wheel”.   As a grindstone is a type of wheel, the confusion unfolded and another masterpiece was born.


Throw in the hat

This malaphor mixes two idioms with opposite meanings – “throw in the towel” and “hat in the ring”.   When I heard it, the speaker intended to say”throw in the towel”.   Maybe he didn’t really want to give up?   Or maybe it was that second martini talking….


Out of our price league

 

I heard this one years ago when a chain of stores called “Price Club” existed.  I imagine that may have prompted today’s malaphor, a mixture of “not in my price range” and “out of my league”.   Both indicate something unattainable.  Maybe the combination means it REALLY is unattainable?


Get out of my hair!

 

Just about right, except for the body part.  This is a mash-up of “get off my back” and “out of my hair”.  Perhaps the “malaphoree” had an impressive hairdo?


He’s been shuffling the buck

 

I think this mix-up is caused by two similar looking four letter words – buck and deck.  Both expressions also have  similar meanings – not addressing issues squarely.   Finally, maybe the brain reads “shuffle” equating to shuffleboard and then thinks pucks and it comes out buck.  Is that a stretch?  As “ol pal” notes, this mash up probably includes the phrase “passing the buck” as well, and my guess is that this is what the speaker intended to say.  Again, passing is similar to shuffling as in shuffleboard (pushing or passing the shuffleboard puck).


No turn on right

 

This might be one we have all said after driving all day and the mind has turned to mush.  One sees the ubiquitous sign “no turn on red”, processes that as not being able to turn right on a red light, and mumbles, “Crap, no turn on right”.


He’ll do anything at the drop of a bucket

 

I think the brain twists drop and kick together and comes up with this excellent malaphor.   I have heard this one several times so the synapse must be weak….