I’m not the sharpest tack in the drawer

The speaker was not feeling well and mentioned to someone about her mental acuity for the day.  This is an incongruent conflation (opposite meanings) of “not the sharpest knife in the drawer” (not very smart) and “sharp as a tack” (intelligent and quick thinking).  As everyone knows, there are many expressions out there describing the dull witted individual, and these expressions are often mixed up.  I have posted several of these mashups, including “not the brightest tool in the shed”,  https://malaphors.com/2013/06/24/not-the-brightest-tool-in-the-shed/,  “not the sharpest bulb in the shed”, https://malaphors.com/2017/08/03/not-the-sharpest-bulb-in-the-shed/, and “not the brightest knife in the drawer”, https://malaphors.com/2018/02/14/hes-not-the-brightest-knife-in-the-drawer/,  to name just a few.  A big thanks to Yvonne Stam for admitting she uttered this one and realizing it was a malaphor.


Smart as a tack

This is an example of a perfectly formed malaphor.  It is a congruent conflation (the best kind of malaphor, imho) of “smart as a whip” and “sharp as a tack”, both describing someone as highly intelligent.  Smart and sharp are similar sounding words, and both idioms contain the “as a” words.  Also, if you sit on a tack, it does smart, doesn’t it?  The mashup is also heard in the Adam Sandler movie, “Big Daddy”.  Here’s the clip:

A big thanks to Martin Pietrucha who heard this one and sent it in.


He’s sharp as a whip

This malaphor was heard on “Hardball” with Chris Matthews.  Political pundit Charles Cook was describing former Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards, now elderly, whom he saw recently.  This is a congruent conflation of “smart as a whip” and “sharp as a tack”, both meaning to be very intelligent.  Both idioms contain the same number of words, and “sharp” and “smart” have similar sounds.  I can see where these metaphor can be easily mixed.  A big shout out to “my ol’ pal” Beatrice Zablocki for hearing this one and passing it on!