And then everyone wonders why Europeans turn down their noses at Americans

“Turn down their noses” is a wonderful mash up of “turn up their noses” (sneer at someone) and “look down their noses at” (to see someone who is inferior or has no value).  The confusion lies in “up” and “down” and “look” and “turn”.   Maybe the nose has “turn down” service?  Who knows?  But it seems to be an incredibly popular malaphor given the thousands of google hits.  The subject line above refers to the Jersey Shore phenomenon:

“The Jersey Shore kids are gross. Not Gross Baboons necessarily, just gross. They are so wrong in so many ways. Have you been to Florence? It is by far one of the most beautiful cities in the world. They needed to have a pack of steroid-ed gumbas trouncing around the Ponte Vecchio like I am going to the moon. Reports from Italy have the locals cringing from horror that this somehow represents Italians in the United States. And then everyone wonders why Europeans turn down their noses at Americans. The worst part is now that the Jersey Snore kids have terrorized Florence, Italians will equate ding-dong Guidos and Guidettes with the state of New Jersey.”

Here’s another good one:

Falvo’s Meats – Don’t get me wrong, I know there are a number of quality butcher shops in the area, but this place with its friendly service, fair prices and excellent products keeps me coming back time after time. I rely upon their advertisement in the Sunday TU for inspiration when planning the week’s meals and my boys turn down their noses at bacon that does not come from the Slingerland’s institution.

Keep an ear to the grindstone

This one is similar to an earlier malaphor, “put your shoulder to the grindstone” (posted July 20, 2012 – see body parts in index), except it mixes “keep an ear to the ground” (devote attention to watching or listening to clues) and “keep your nose to the grindstone” (work hard and constantly).  While these two idioms have different meanings, they both express diligence in an action.   They also both have the word “keep” in them.  Finally, adding to the confusion are the use of body parts.  Body parts are a common source of confusion for some reason, particularly if they are in close proximity – in this case, ears and noses.  An amusing aside – I heard this one from a supervisor who was giving me advice.

You hit the nose on the head

If you type this malaphor on a google search, you get hundreds of responses, reflecting how often this malaphor is written/spoken.  It is a blend of “hit it on the nose” and “hit the nail on the head”, both phrases meaning getting something exactly right.  I suspect the confusion here is also prompted by two words that are both body parts and four letter words.   It also could be from watching too many Three Stooges comedies.

Don’t get your nose in an uproar

This is a mash up of “nose out of joint” (hurt feelings or plans upset) and “don’t get your bowels in an uproar” (overly anxious or excited), with the speaker replacing “bowels” with “nose”.  Both idioms indicate extreme emotion and facial expression which may have added to the confusion.  Oh, and the confused words, “bowels” and “nose”, both smell.