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The buck stops at the top

This is a companion to yesterday’s malaphor, “the fish rots from the top”.  Interestingly, this malaphor was heard on the same show, Hardball with Chris Matthews, regarding the same subject: discussion of a Trump official remarking about John McCain dying soon.  This one was spoken by Ginger Gibson, Reuters political correspondent.  It is a mashup of “the buck stops here” (taking full responsibility) and “top of the ladder (food chain)” (the position of most importance).  A big shout out to Beatrice Zablocki who heard this one and sent it in.
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It was on the cards

MSNBC chief global correspondent Bill Neely uttered this one.  He was talking about the recent release of the U.S. prisoners in North Korea and said that the release had been “on the cards” for awhile as they were moved to a hotel before release.  This is a congruent conflation of “in the cards” and “on deck”, both meaning certain or likely to happen next.  The mental mashup origin is clear in this one: the speaker probably was thinking “deck” which led him to “cards” as in “deck of cards”.  Also in the mix might have been “on the radar” (considered important or noteworthy) considering the context.    A big thanks to Bruce Ryan for hearing this one and sending it in!


We haven’t emptied all our cards

This was uttered by Michael Avenatti on the Lawrence O’Donnell MSNBC show when he was asked whether there will be any further disclosures regarding Michael Cohen.  It is a mashup of “show (one’s) cards” (to make one’s plans or intentions known) and “empty (something) out” (to remove or pour all of the contents from something).  Revealing and then emptying seems to be what he has done to date, so the malaphor makes sense.  This is not the first malaphor uttered by Michael Avenatti.  Check out some of his other great mashups, like “he folded like a cheap deck of cards”.  A big thanks to Beatrice Zablocki for hearing this one.  She’s a major contributor to this site. She’s the top of the notch!


The President needs to come straight with the American people

This malaphor was uttered by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) on the MSNBC show The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.  It is a congruent conflation of “come clean” and “be straight” (be honest and straightforward).  Kudos to that Malaphor Hunter Frank King, the Mental Health Comedian.


He gets a clean bill of goods

This was heard on MSNBC’s Hard Ball, and uttered by the new “Master of Malaphors”, Chris Matthews (I think I have posted at least four from this guy).  It is a nice mashup of “”sold a bill of goods” (deceive someone) and “clean bill of health” (a report confirming the absence of fault in a person or thing).  “Bill” is the commonality here.  Not sure if Chris is having a few martinis before each show, but if so, I hope he continues.  A big thanks to Super Malaphor Hunter Mike Kovacs for hearing this one! @hardballChris


Let’s not get ahead of our skis

Senator Cory Booker uttered this malaphor on MSNBC’s The Chris Hayes Show.  He was talking about the Mueller investigation:

“Um, look, I’m one of those folks that says let’s go where the evidence leads,” he said. “Right now we have a special counsel that is doing a thorough investigation. Let’s not get ahead of our skis. Let’s make sure we support this special counsel’s investigation.”  https://www.mediaite.com/tv/chris-hayes-comes-right-out-and-asks-it-in-interview-with-cory-booker-is-trump-a-criminal/

This is a mixture of “out over his skis” (get ahead of yourself) and “ahead of the curve” (leading in something).  The two phrases are close in meaning and are both referring to leading in front.  It appears the phrase “out over your skis” originated in the finance world.  See this article for more on the origin: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2012/05/where-did-the-phrase-over-his-skis-come-from.html

A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one and passing it on!


Take no quarter

This nice, subtle malaphor was uttered by Harry Litman, former US Attorney, on the MSNBC show Deadline: White House.  Mr. Litman was talking about the Southern District of New York and its toughness on criminal activity, specifically referring to Michael Cohen’s possible involvement in criminal actions.  It is a congruent conflation of “take no prisoners” and “give no quarter”, both meaning to show no mercy or compromise in pursuing one’s objectives.  “Taking” and “giving” often get mixed up, it seems, as it is difficult sometimes to understand why one word is used and not the other.  For example, the expression “I need to take a piss (or dump)” makes no sense to me as one is really “giving a piss (or dump)”, right?  Conversely, the phrase “I don’t give a hoot (shit)” about something makes more sense if you “don’t take a hoot (shit)”.  Word rant of the day.  A big thanks to “my ol’ pal” Beatrice Zablocki for giving a hoot about malaphors and spotting this one.