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.


This wait is mind-racking

This nice word blend malaphor was heard on the t.v. show Hell’s Kitchen.  Chef Ramsey was about to make his decision on the winner. As suspense was building, one of the contestants said “This wait is mind racking”.  This is a mash up of “mind-blowing” (overwhelming or astounding) and “nerve-racking” (very distressing or exhausting).  My guess is that the speaker was also thinking of “racking my brain” (to try very hard to think of something), something few do today thanks to Google.   Kudos to John and Heather Hatfield for hearing this one and sending it into Malaphor Central!

Want to read something that will rack your mind?  Check out my book “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available on Amazon for a cheap 6.99!


It’s all a bunch of crock

This malaphor was uttered by actor Bill Murray in a GQ interview, discussing the recent Ghostbusters movie.  Here’s the link:  This is a congruent conflation of “a bunch of baloney (or malarkey or…)”  and “a crock”, both meaning falsehoods or lies.   Actually, I like this one for describing a really big lie.  A big thanks to Martin Pietrucha for spotting this one and sending it in!

If you want to see more Hollywood malaphors, check out my book “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available on Amazon now!  I guarantee it’s not a bunch of crock.


To boil it down to a nut…

This gem was spoken by John Gruber, in an episode of his tech podcast The Talk Show.  You can hear it here, at around 2hr50sec:  It is a nice mash up of “in a nutshell” (concisely) and “it boils down to” (condense or summarize).  Both phrases refer to the essence of something.   Boiled peanuts may also have been on the speaker’s mind.   In the southern states of the U.S.  you can see lots of signs for these “acquired taste” snacks.  A big thanks to Peter Hopkins for hearing this one and sending it in.

Like this one?  Try the book “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors” available on Amazon!  It’s the top of the notch!


She won’t cross that path

Comedian Jim Breuer, during his interview on The Howard Stern Show, was talking about his daughter and her reluctance to do a certain thing.  He said, “she won’t cross that path.”  This is a conflation of “cross the line” (to change from being acceptable to unacceptable) and “go down that path (or road)” (to do a particular thing).  Although not in context, the speaker may have been also thinking of “cross paths (with someone)” (meet someone by chance).  A big thanks to Vicki Ameel Kovacs, a regular malaphor contributor and loyal follower!

The Howard Stern Show is a goldmine for malaphors, as noted in my book He Smokes Like A Fish and other Malaphors, available on Amazon for a mere 6.99!  Check it out!  Howard would be proud.

jim breuer

He dropped it like a lead potato

This gem was uttered at school by a teacher discussing an administrative initiative.  It is a mash up of “go over like a lead balloon” (to fail completely) and “dropped (someone or something) like a hot potato” (disassociate instantly).  This malaphor might be describing both phrases together to illustrate staying away from a failure. Maybe the speaker is from Long Island, where residues of arsenic and lead were found in potatoes.

A big thanks to Ann Lynn for hearing this one and sending it in!

Hold your horses on

This is another “maraphor”.  The speaker uttered this mix up, and then said, “I mean, keep your britches on.”  This is a congruent conflation of  “hold your horses” and “keep your britches (or pants) on”, both meaning to restrain yourself.  Britches, or breeches, are pants used in riding horses so I can see where the speaker was confused.  She probably visualized someone with breeches riding a horse.  A big shout out to Marianne Julian who heard this and passed it on!