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It’s petering down

No, this was not said in an erectile dysfunction commercial, but rather by Heidi Przybyla on MSNBC’s Morning Joe the other day.  She was talking about the Mueller investigation.  It is a congruent conflation of “petering out” and “winding down”, both meaning to slowly come to a conclusion or end.  Another tip of the hat to Frank King for spotting this one.  He has the ears of a hawk.

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Trump sees a window and he’s taking it

This one is from an online article posted by John Cassidy, the fine New Yorker columnist, quoting another pundit on the Sessions firing. “This is a frontal assault on the Mueller investigation”, Susan Hennessey, the executive editor of the Lawfare blog, wrote on Twitter.  “Trump sees a window and he’s taking it.” This is a conflation of “sees an opening” and “window of opportunity”, both meaning a short period of time in which one has a favorable opportunity to do or accomplish something.  A window is an opening, and thus the reason for the mashup.  Kudos to John Costello for spotting this one and sending it in.
Did you enjoy this one?  There are many more like this one in my book “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available at Amazon.  Click on this link for more! https://www.amazon.com/dp/0692652205

The President is using his bully pit to create questions on our elections

This gem was uttered by Maria Teresa Kumar on MSNBC’s Last Word on November 12, 2018.  Is it a malaphor?  I think it is a malaphor word blend of “bully pulpit” (a public position that allows a person to share his views with a large audience) and “pit bull” (an aggressive and tenacious person).  The latter defines the subject and the former was the intended idiom to be used.  A big thank you to James Kozlowski for hearing this one and sharing it.


She was threading that line in the Trump Administration

Kathleen Parker from the Washington Post uttered this one on MSNBC (the malaphor channel), talking about Nikki Haley.  It is a conflation of “toeing the line” (adhering to the rules of something) and “threading the needle” (pass something through a narrow space between two things).  Both idioms make sense in context, and perhaps Ms. Parker’s malaphor is really an economical way of expressing two ideas at once.  A big thanks to Jim Kozlowski for hearing this one and passing it on.


We can break history

This is one of my favorites.  Donald Trump Jr. uttered this one when discussing the upcoming midterm elections.  He told ABC news, “So our people, the MAGA people, they have to turn out. They have to get out and vote. And I think we can break history.” https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-jr-father-trusts-smaller-group-aides-white/story?id=57735562

This is a mash up of “make history” (to do something historically significant) and I think “break a record” (to do something at a higher or greater degree than the greatest extent currently known).  Both expressions refer to achieving something never before achieved so it is close to a congruent conflation.  “Break with tradition” (to do something in a new way) might also be in the mix.  I am tempted to say “break wind” (to expel gas, fart) was also on the speaker’s mind but that is just a guess.  A big thanks to Jack Chandler for spotting this gem.


He’s laid down a line

Harry Litman was discussing Trump on MSNBC and uttered this nice malaphor.  It is a mash up of “lay down the law” (give an order or directive) and “draw a line” (to set a boundary). “Lay”, “line”, and “law” all seem to be part of the scramble here.  Mr. Litman has been the subject of a previous malaphor (“take no quarter”  https://malaphors.com/2018/04/13/take-no-quarter/) and was very good natured about it.  A true Pittsburgher, full of grace!  A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one and sending it in.

They want to take me to bat

During an interview on MSNBC on Sunday, 9/9/18, Omarosa Manigault Newman uttered this mix up.  It is a mash up of “take me to task (scold or reprimand) and I believe, given the context, “bat for the other team” (to support, secretly or openly, the opposing side of a given contest or debate).  “Bat around” (hit something around) might also be in the mix, again given the context.  A big thanks to Bob Smith for hearing this one and sending it in.