Senator Mike Braun, Republican from Indiana, uttered this one on Meet the Press yesterday. He was talking about Trump and the effect impeachment will have on him. It is a mashup of “called on the carpet” (to reprimand someone) and “taken to the cleaners” (to swindle someone or to soundly defeat someone). My guess is that the Senator was thinking of carpet cleaning. He also may have been thinking of the idiom “taken to the mat”(to confront or argue with someone), given mats and carpets are both floor coverings. A big thanks to Elaine Hatfield and Mike Kovacs who heard this one and sent it in.
Another unintentional gem from the lips of Susan Ban’s husband. This is a mash up of “you can take it to the bank” (able to depend on the truthfulness of a statement) and “taken to the cleaners” (swindled or had a lot of money taken by someone). I suppose this malaphor could be used to describe a statement or action that will bankrupt someone, as in “buy shares of North Korea hotels; you can take that to the cleaners!” A big thank you to Susan Ban for sending this one in.
I don’t make these up, folks. This wonderful malaphor is a mash up of “thrown to the wolves” (put someone in a situation where there is nothing to protect them) and “taken to the cleaners” (swindle someone). The words “taken” and “thrown”, both verbs and both starting with a “t”, may have been the root of the confusion. This mix up was said by Jon Hein, creator of the Jump the Shark website (now part of tvguide.com) and host of The Wrap Up Show on the Howard Stern channel on Sirius XM satellite radio. He was referring to a time that he was put in a compromising position. Interestingly, Jon Hein grew up in Pittsburgh (Mt. Lebanon). A fellow Pittsburgher and senior malaphor reporter, Mike Kovacs, heard this one and messaged it in. Thanks again, Mike!