He broke the scoop

Rachel Maddow uttered this malaphor the other night, talking about Ronan Farrow’s latest scoop.  It is a mashup of “get the scoop” (get the news) and “break the story” (the first to address an issue, usually news).  Since “the scoop” is usually the news, this fractured saying makes some sense.  It also has a little assonance to it, so to speak.  Another thank you to Frank King for sharing this one.


His job was running point for the White House

Rachel Maddow uttered this one the other night.  Referring to Ty Cobb, Trump’s lawyer who resigned, said, “His job was running point for the White House on the Trump Russia investigation.”  This is a mashup of the military expression “walk (or take) point” (to assume the first and most exposed position in a combat military formation) and “running interference” (to take actions to avoid or prevent certain problems).  As the submitter said, if you ran point, you’d out distance yourself from the other troops, which is a bad idea.  A big thanks to Frank King who heard this one and passed it on!

We are not out of the clear

This dandy conflation comes straight from the mouth of Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show.  She was discussing Russian interference in the U.S. Presidential election and explained that “we are not out of the clear”.  This is congruent conflation of “out of the woods” and “in the clear”, both meaning to be free from danger or suspicion of wrongdoing.  This malaphor was repeated by MSNBC on its twitter feed: Sen. Kamala Harris: “We’re not out of the clear in terms of 2018 election cycle”

Many followers caught this one, including Beatrice Zablocki, Sam Edelmann, and Frank King.  I guess this one was very clear.

The speech played a factor

This is a very subtle mashup.  Rachel Maddow (again) was referring to Dean Acheson’s speech and said it might have “played a factor” in leading to the Korean War.  This is a congruent conflation of “played a role (or part)”  and “is a factor in (or factored in)”, both meaning to have a specific involvement or participation in something.  Based on google hits, this is a very common malaphor.  Thanks again to Frank King for hearing this one and dropping me a line.

Talk shows (particularly political talk shows) are full of malaphors.  You can read more of them in my book, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available on Amazon.  Makes a great addition to any bathroom library!

I haven’t heard hide nor hair of that guy

Hearing and seeing are two different things.  But in the malaphor world, they are the same.  This alliterative mixup was heard on the Rachel Maddow Show.  She was discussing the Michael Flynn affair, and about an FSB agent who was charged with treason but very little news since the charge.  The transcript of the show can be found here:

This is a mashup of “not seen hide nor hair of someone” (haven’t seen someone or something in a long time) and “have not heard a peep” (haven’t heard anything).  Personally, the only time I hear hair is when it is squeaky clean.  A shout out to comedian Frank King for hearing this one and passing it on.

North Carolina is a dead tie

This congruent conflation was uttered by Rachel Maddow on election eve.  It is a mash up of “dead heat” and virtual tie”, both meaning a competition which is tied.  I can’t help think that the speaker also had “tie-dyed” on her mind, a sort of dyslexia in malaphor form.  And finally what about those Jerry Garcia ties?   A big thanks to Frank King who heard this gem and passed it on.

Did you like this one?   Check out my book, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available on Amazon right now!


A lot of politicians are hemming around it

On the Rachel Maddow show, Leo Shane of the Military Times was commenting on the idea of doing away with the VA medical system.  He said: “A lot of a politicians are hemming around it.”  This is a nice congruent conflation of “hemming and hawing” and “dancing around (an issue)”, both meaning to avoid or skirt an issue or question.  I am sure we will be seeing and hearing a lot of hemming around this political season.  Kudos to Frank King for hearing this one and passing it on!

If you liked this malaphor, be sure and get the book on the subject: He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors,  available on Amazon at or CreateSpace at   It’s the creme de la resistance!