Political pundit David Plouffe on MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell was talking about voters in swing states, and votes coming in on Election Day. He said that “…unless it’s razor close, we are going to know…” who the winner is on election night. This is a mashup of “razor- thin” (very thin) and “too close to call” (a margin too narrow to make a decision). Both describe narrow measurements. The speaker may have been thinking of his razor giving himself a close shave. Whatever. It’s a great malaphor, and a big thanks to Frank King for hearing it and passing it on.
Hallie Jackson, NBC correspondent, said this one on MSNBC, referring to political messaging in the time of a pandemic. It is a conflation of “goes out the window” (disregarded or forgotten) and I believe “blown out of the water” (destroy something or someone completely). “Blows” and “goes” rhyme, and both phrases refer to getting rid of something. A big thanks to Bruce Ryan for hearing this one and sending it in!
Michael Steele, former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland and political pundit, said this one on Nicole Wallace’s show, Deadline: White House. Mr. Steele was talking about the Jason Blake shooting and his experience as a father talking to his sons about what to do if stopped by police. This is a congruent conflation of “hits home” and “hit (one) like a ton of bricks”, both expressions meaning to receive information that has a sudden or signifcant impact on one. A big thank you to Mike Kovacs for hearing this subtle and neatly formed malaphor and sending it in.
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LaToya Cantrell, mayor of New Orleans, was discussing police actions and public safety on the MSNBC show, “All In with Chris Hayes”. This is a mashup of “turned the corner” (begun to have improvement or success after a difficult or troubling period) and “ahead of the curve” (better than average). Both idioms are about success or improvement. Although the topic was not about the pandemic, “flatten the curve” (slowing down the spread of a disease) was probably on the speaker’s mind as well. A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one. You can hear this malaphor at approximately 16 minutes into the show:
Discussing the unfairness of the Iowa Caucuses, former RNC Chairman, Michael Steele on MSNBC uttered this malaphor. It is a mashup of “the whole enchilada” (everything) and “lay (one’s) cards on the table” (to be very candid about one’s position). My guess is that the speaker was hungry. A big thanks to Ron MacDonald for hearing this one and sending it in.
Political pundit Charlie Sykes uttered this one on MSNBC’s Hardball (hosted by the Malaphor King, Chris Matthews – see website for the many contributions). This is a mashup of “run point” (take the lead) and “give cover” (protect from attack). Perhaps Mr. Sykes was thinking (or hoping) about “running for cover”, but there is no indication any Republican is doing that at this point. A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one and sharing it.
That’s right, a malaphor two-fer, from the lips of Jennifer Rubin, heard on MSNBC the other night. Here is what she said:
On Republicans, “how many points will the Dow have to drop to …get them off the stick?” This is a nice congruent conflation of “get on the stick” and “get off the dime”, both meaning to organize oneself and start preparing for something.
On Trump’s opponents, “he’s always thrived on chaos, …he thinks it puts his opponents on their back heel.” This is a mashup of “back on his heels” (to put into a state of unease or surprise) and “flat on (one’s) back” (lacking the strength to get up).
A big, big thanks to Frank King for hearing these gems and passing them on!
Ayman Mohyeldin on MSNBC uttered this one when he was talking about Trey Gowdy and Republicans criticizing Democrats and Mueller’s testimony. It is a congruent conflation of “not holding back” and “not pulling any punches”, both meaning to act without restraint or limitations. The congruent conflation to me is the purest form of a malaphor. The speaker is thinking of the correct idiom but there are other idioms that mean the same thing swirling in the brain. A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this subtle but classic malaphor. @AymanM