I know the material off the back of my hand

A daughter was telling her father about a recent test.  This is a mashup of “know it like the back of my hand” (extremely familiar with something) and “off the top of my head” (from memory without careful consideration).  Either this is a malaphor or maybe she actually had the materials written on her hand?  A big thanks to John Kooser for hearing this one.


They are talking through a complete hole in their head

This one comes from a Wall Street Journal article about Scotch Whisky:  “Whoever is saying that is talking through a complete hole in their head.”  https://www.wsj.com/articles/if-youre-a-purist-about-scotch-whisky-you-might-find-this-hard-to-swallow-1516728633?mod=e2tw.  This is a mashup of “needing something like a hole in the head” (to have absolutely no need for something) and probably “talking through (one’s) hat” (saying foolish things, or bluffing, boasting).  “Off the top of (one’s) head” (from memory; without much careful consideration) might be in the mix, but since the word “through” is used I would bet on the former.  Another thanks to frequent malaphor contributor Barry Eigen for spotting this one!

He says whatever rolls off the top of his head

This gem was picked up on a radio show.  A caller said Trump “says whatever rolls off the top of his head”.  This is a mash up of “off the top of one’s head” (without much thought) and “roll/trip off the tongue” (easy to say).  “Heads will roll” (people will get into severe trouble) also might be in the mix, given the bombastic nature of the subject.  Given the sweeping nature of the subject’s hair, the image of something “rolling off the top of the head” might also have been in the speaker’s mind.  A big thanks to Donna Cosentino for hearing this one and sending it in!

If you liked this malaphor, you will LOVE the book “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors” that can be purchased on Amazon for a measly 6.29.  This link to to get this collection of mash ups is http://www.amazon.com/dp/0692652205.  In Canada it’s http://www.amazon.ca/dp/0692652205 and in the UK it’s http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0692652205.

Off the cuff of my head

This is a congruent conflation of  “off the top of my head” and “off the cuff”, both expressions meaning to speak without much thought or preparation.  It is similar to the 9/16/12 post “he said it off the top of his cuff”.   This malaphor came all the way from South Africa.  An African National Congress (ANC) spokesperson during a radio interview,  in avoiding difficult questions, responded with the opener: “Well, off the cuff of my head . . .”   A shout out to Allan Muir for sending this one in!

I don’t know it off the top of my hand

This is a mash up of “off the top of my head” and “offhand”, both meaning to say something without preparation.  Hand and head both look and sound similar, and are both body parts, all adding to the confusion.   I have heard this one many times in conversation and in meetings.