I’m doing this on a whim and a prayer

A person posted that she was quitting her job somewhat impulsively. She doesn’t have a new job lined up, so it’s a little bit scary. She wrote, “I’m doing this on a whim and a prayer.”  This is a nice mashup of “on a whim” (sudden, impulsive urge) and “on a wing and a prayer” (hoping you will succeed even though you have not prepared for it).  The mix up undoubtedly was caused by the words “on a” that are in both idioms.   The expressions combined describe what the speaker was trying to convey – an impulsive move with a hope that it works out well.  A big thanks to Monica Bafetti for spotting this one and Sally Adler for sending it here!  As Sally points out, this malaphor is really more meaningful than the original in this age.  And check out the blog onawhimandaprayer.com about two Irishmen who logged in 35,000 kilometers on motorbikes to raise money for Make-A-Wish!


At the drop of a whim

This beauty was heard on TMZ.  It is a mash up of “at the drop of a hat” (doing something immediately) and “on a whim” (impulse).  Both expressions indicate doing something quickly without thinking, making it a congruent conflation.  Both expressions begin with prepositions indicating location, adding to the confusion.  Perhaps the thinker was also thinking of the brim (rhyming with whim) of a hat.  A big thanks to Vicki Kovacs for hearing this one and passing it on!