“The Master” strikes again. Chris Matthews uttered this beauty on the Rachel Maddow show on July 9, 2018, referring to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. It is a congruent conflation of “passed muster” and “cleared for approval”, both meaning to be accepted as adequate. Pass/clear is the mixup here. Anyone who visits this site regularly knows Mr. Matthews is a malaphor goldmine. A big thanks to “Eagle-Ear” Frank King, the Mental Health Comedian, for hearing this one and sending it in.
Sharing must be a really big deal at this company. I understand not passing ketchup is grounds for dismissal. Actually, this gem was uttered when discussing an internal candidate who applied for a promotion: “We can interview him, but if he doesn’t pass the mustard, then we aren’t promoting him.” This is a congruent conflation of “cut the mustard” and “pass muster”, both meaning to perform satisfactorily. At first this just appeared to be a malaprop (misusing a word, generally similar in sound) – mustard for muster – but on closer inspection it indeed is a mash up of two idioms, hence a very nice malaphor. A big thanks to Tiffany G. for hearing this one and passing it (and the condiment) on!
Did you like this one? I sure did, and you can find a ton of other fun malaphors just like this one in my latest book, He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors, available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0692652205!