This gem was uttered by Congressman Jim Himes (D-CT) yesterday on Meet the Press, talking about the Trump impeachment inquiry. It is a mashup of “muddy the waters” (to make a situation less clear) and “gum up the works” (to interfere with the proper functioning of something). Both expressions refer to degrading something, and “works” and “waters” might have been jumbled by the phrase “water works”? A big shout out to Bruce Ryan who heard this one and passed it on. @jahimes @MeetThePress
You can hear this malaphor just about at the beginning of the video:
The exact quote is “Microsoft continues to cloudy the water around their licensing schemes.” This was heard on a corporate training video discussing a technology where software use is either licensed via a traditional shrink-wrapped license or via a Service Provider Licensing Arrangement. It is a congruent conflation of “cloud the issue” and “muddy the waters”, both meaning to make something unclear. Certainly muddy water is cloudy, and hence the mix up. And as pointed out by the Magellan of Malaphors Mike Kovacs, who heard this beauty, readers should note the transmogrification of the word “cloud” to fit this malaphor. Score for Mike and extra points for using the word transmogrification in a sentence and for using the word correctly. This is like getting fouled on a three point shot that goes in and having the other team called for a technical.