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!


We have to take the punches as they come

This malaphor was spoken by Jeremy Roloff on Season 10, Episode 2 of the TLC program “Little People, Big World.” He was referring to the challenge of eventually taking control of the family pumpkin farm and business in the face of his parents’ divorce.  I believe this is a congruent conflation of “roll with the punches”  and “take it as it comes”, both meaning to adjust to difficult events as they happen.  This gem was caught by the Vice President of Malaphor Hunters (ViPMaH) Mike Kovacs.  Thanks ViPMaH!

jeremy roloff

Three’s a charm

I love this one because it’s so subtle.  This is a mash up of “two’s company, (but) three’s a crowd” (a way of asking a third person to leave because you want to be alone with someone) and “third time’s a charm” (the third time you try something it will work).  The mix up is caused by the number three appearing in both idioms, and with the similar looking and sounding “charm” and “crowd”.  Ian, a regular malaphor follower, found this on a camera site that he frequents.  Here is the source: http://m.dpreview.com/news/2679996282/three-s-a-charm-sony-rx10-iii-added-to-studio-scene-comparison-tool.  Thanks Ian for spotting this and sending it on!

Speaking of charms, if you haven’t purchased THE book on malaphors, He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors, you need to!  It’s cheap, charming, and on Amazon so follow this link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0692652205.

Everyone’s digging their heels in the sand right now

This beauty was found in an editorial entitled “Modern Politics are Blind”, found in civicscience.com  – https://civicscience.com/modern-politics-are-blind/.   This is a mash up of “dig your heels in” (refuse to alter a course of action) and  “stick one’s head in the sand” (refuse to think about an unpleasant event), or “bury one’s head in the sand” (to ignore or hide from obvious signs of danger).   “Draw a line in the sand” (create an artificial boundary and imply that crossing it will cause trouble) might also be in the mix.  All the phrases concern being obstinate or refusing something, whether it is advice or in the context of the editorial, the facts.  This malaphor is similar to a great one uttered by Steve Scalise (R-LA) who said, “he has stuck his feet in the sand”, referring to Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats (see https://malaphors.com/2013/10/03/he-has-stuck-his-feet-in-the-sand/).

Don’t dig your heels in the sand and not buy the malaphor book, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors.”  Live a little and get this gem on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0692652205.  It’s a real page burner.


He pulled the rug over their eyes

This perfectly formed malaphor was overheard in a discussion at work.  It is a mash up of two similar sounding idioms – “pull the wool over his eyes” (to deceive someone) and “pull the rug (out) from under him” (suddenly take away help or support from someone).  Both phrases have the word “pull” in them, and both have direction – over and under.  Also adding to the mix is the combination of wool and rug – a wool rug.  This is the mirror image of  “he pulled the wool out from under me”, posted on March 21, 2015 ( https://malaphors.com/2015/03/21/he-pulled-the-wool-out-from-under-me/).  A tip of the hat to Joel Ringer for hearing this one and passing it on!  If you liked this one get the book on malaphors!  He Smokes Like a Fish is available on Amazon for cheap – 6.99! A mocha latte is more than that and not half as fun with more calories.  Here’s the link – http://www.amazon.com/dp/0692652205

Image result for he pulled the wool over my eyes

The weather can change on a dime

This was heard on a local CBS t.v. news promo.  It is a congruent conflation of “turn on a dime” and “change on a moment’s notice”, both meaning to act quickly.  This malaphor might have been caused by the word “change” as it relates to money, although I don’t get a whole lot of dimes anymore in change.  Dimes seem to show up a lot in malaphors, possibly due to their use in various expressions – “turn on a dime, “stop on a dime”, “dropped the dime”, “get off the dime”, “nickel and dimed”, etc.  Some previous posts include “I fall asleep at the drop of a dime” (https://malaphors.com/2014/06/26/i-fall-asleep-at-the-drop-of-a-dime/) and “you had to figure out what to do on a dime’s notice” (https://malaphors.com/2014/05/20/you-had-to-figure-out-what-you-were-going-to-do-on-a-dimes-notice/).  The latter was heard and submitted by the Master Spotter of Malaphors Steve Grieme, who also heard and sent me the one posted today!  Steve certainly is not a dime a dozen when it comes to malaphors.  He’s the top of the notch!

If you liked this malaphor, get a load of the malaphor book “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0692652205.  It’s a real page burner!

He’s a chip off the old tree

Malaphor Hunter Gary Kelly overheard this one at the grocery store as two old men were discussing a grandson.  Given the context, it’s a congruent conflation of “a chip off the old block” and “the apple does not fall far from the tree”, both meaning someone’s behavior or traits resembling a relative, especially parents.  The confusion stems from the similar definitions, but also this mental sequence: chip > wood > tree.  Kudos to my old high school buddy and fellow musician Gary Kelly for sending this one in.

Hey, if you enjoyed this one check out a whole collection of malaphors in my book “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0692652205.  It’s the top of the notch!