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Take no quarter

This nice, subtle malaphor was uttered by Harry Litman, former US Attorney, on the MSNBC show Deadline: White House.  Mr. Litman was talking about the Southern District of New York and its toughness on criminal activity, specifically referring to Michael Cohen’s possible involvement in criminal actions.  It is a congruent conflation of “take no prisoners” and “give no quarter”, both meaning to show no mercy or compromise in pursuing one’s objectives.  “Taking” and “giving” often get mixed up, it seems, as it is difficult sometimes to understand why one word is used and not the other.  For example, the expression “I need to take a piss (or dump)” makes no sense to me as one is really “giving a piss (or dump)”, right?  Conversely, the phrase “I don’t give a hoot (shit)” about something makes more sense if you “don’t take a hoot (shit)”.  Word rant of the day.  A big thanks to “my ol’ pal” Beatrice Zablocki for giving a hoot about malaphors and spotting this one.

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