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He always said 1990 was the year he hit the rocks

This one comes from New York Times reporter Susanne Craig, appearing on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, discussing her reporting on Donald Trump’s business losses during 1984-1994.  It is a congruent conflation of “hit rock bottom” and “hit the skids”, both referring to a period of trouble or decline.  Both contain the word “hit”, contributing to the mixup.  “Hit a new low” might also be in the mix.  A big thanks to Vicki Ameel Kovacs for hearing this one.  Vicki can spot a malaphor a mile away.

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It sticks under my skin

Noah Rothman uttered this nice malaphor on the MSNBC show, “Morning Joe”, on March 21.  He was referring to Trump’s comments about McCain and Obamacare.  It is a congruent conflation (two idioms mixed with the same meaning) of “sticks in (one’s) craw” and “gets under (someone’s) skin”, both referring to something that is irritating or bothersome to someone.

So what’s a craw?

A craw is the crop of a bird or insect, the transferred sense of the word to refer to a person’s gullet (Free Dictionary).  Perhaps Mr. Rothman is a Frank Sinatra fan, thinking of the song “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”.  A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one!


I know this is not everyone’s dish of tea

William Weld, former Massachusetts governor, uttered this one on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, when he introduced the topic of climate change.  This is a mashup of “not one’s cup of tea” (not one’s preference) and maybe “dish it out” (to dispense something, often verbally)?  Or was the speaker just thinking of “cup and saucer” and got the two confused?  No one knows except Mr. Weld, and perhaps he doesn’t either.  On that note, I think I’ll have a “disha”.  A big thanks to two people who heard this one and sent it in almost simultaneously:  David Stephens and Donna Calvert.  Thanks David and Donna!


It’s petering down

No, this was not said in an erectile dysfunction commercial, but rather by Heidi Przybyla on MSNBC’s Morning Joe the other day.  She was talking about the Mueller investigation.  It is a congruent conflation of “petering out” and “winding down”, both meaning to slowly come to a conclusion or end.  Another tip of the hat to Frank King for spotting this one.  He has the ears of a hawk.


Not to put too fine a brush on it

Heard on Morning Joe by Joe himself.  It is a mashup of “put too fine a point on it” (to belabor or exaggerate the importance of some point or detail), and “paint (something) with a broad brush” (describe something in general or vague terms).  Brushes can indeed be fine, hence the mixup.  A big thanks to Frank King for spotting yet another malaphor in the wilds of MSNBC.


Trump continues to play straight out of Putin’s pocket

This terrific mashup was spoken by Joe Scarborough on his show, “Morning Joe”, on July 17, 2018.  It is a conflation of “a page out of (someone’s) playbook” (to behave or act like someone else) and “in (someone’s) pocket” (under someone’s direct control or influence).  This mix up has its own unique connotation: someone who is directed by someone else and is following that person’s command or orders.  A big thanks to James Kozlowski for hearing this one and sending it in.


It definitely has my radar up

This was heard on Morning Joe on May 17, uttered by Mika Brzezinski discussing the missing SARS reports and Ronan Farrow’s story.  It is a nice mashup of “on my radar (screen)” (considered important) and “has my antenna up” (curiosity or interest).  “Have my back (or dander) up” (get someone angry) might also be in the mix, but I doubt it considering the context (although the whole Cohen affair might be ticking her off).  A big thanks to that Malaphor Extraordinaire, Frank King, for hearing this one.  He certainly has the ears of a hawk.