They’re not holding any punches

Ayman Mohyeldin on MSNBC uttered this one when he was talking about Trey Gowdy and Republicans criticizing Democrats and Mueller’s testimony.  It is a congruent conflation of “not holding back” and “not pulling any punches”, both meaning to act without restraint or limitations.  The congruent conflation to me is the purest form of a malaphor.  The speaker is thinking of the correct idiom but there are other idioms that mean the same thing swirling in the brain.  A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this subtle but classic malaphor. @AymanM


Paul Ryan shamelessly ran cover for Trump

This appears in the very first line of Eric Lutz’s piece in Vanity Fair on Paul Ryan’s interview with Politico’s Tim Alberta.  It is a congruent conflation of “run interference” and “provide cover” (take an action to avoid problems, on behalf of another individual).  “Run for cover” might also have been in the writer’s mind, located in the “freudian slip” area.  A big thanks to Frank King who spotted this one!


We were cocked and loaded to retaliate

This beauty comes from a Trump tweet.  Concerning a possible military strike against Iran, Trump tweeted, “We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die.”  This is a mashup of “locked and loaded” (a command to prepare for battle) and “to go off half-cocked” (to take a premature or ill-considered action).  Many news sites picked up on the malaphor, including Reuters, calling it a malaprop.  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-malaprop/trumps-half-cocked-and-loaded-tweet-draws-barrage-of-reaction-idUSKCN1TM2I0

We of course know it is not a malaprop (improper use of a word) but rather a malaphor (unintentional blend of two or more idioms).  A few loyal followers, including Ron MacDonald and Frank King, spotted this one.  Thanks Ron and Frank!


Joe Biden needs to get out and shake the flesh

This one conjures up a scary/humorous image.  Former House Rep Joe Crowley (D-NY) (who was unseated by AOC) said this beaut on MSNBC today.  He was asked if he had any advice for the Biden campaign and this was his answer.  It is a congruent conflation of “press the flesh” and “shake hands and kiss babies”, both meaning to go out and meet as many people as possible.  Mike Kovacs, Chief Operating Officer for Malaphor Central, heard this one and sent it in immediately.  Mike noted that there are several cheap jokes embedded in this malaphor.  Crowley lost to AOC, who as many will remember shook the flesh in a great dance video.  Also, Mike queried whether Biden at his age could shake the flesh considering the loss of elasticity, but I believe that actually works to Joe’s advantage.


That’s why I think the President was so steamed off this morning

This beauty was uttered by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, referring to Trump’s reaction to her comments about him engaging in a cover-up.  Here is the context:

“This is why I think the president was so steamed off this morning, because the fact is in plain sight, in the public domain, this president is obstructing justice and he’s engaged in a cover-up, and that could be an impeachable offense,” the San Francisco Democrat said at a progressive conference.

https://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/Pelosi-s-cover-up-remark-sets-Trump-off-13872325.php?psid=76uDZ

This is a nice congruent conflation of “pissed off” and “steamed (up)”, both meaning to be angry.  My guess is that Speaker Pelosi was thinking “pissed” but quickly realized that would not be a prudent thing to say in public.  Just guessing.  I will note for the record that “steamed off” is a phrase, but it normally means to leave or depart in an angry or animated manner.  A big tip of the hat to Mike Kovacs for hearing this one!


Joe Biden can’t count all the chickens before they roost

Zerlina Maxwell said this on MSNBC’s Hardball recently. She was speaking about Biden and that since 21 Dems are running (and counting),  he can’t be sure he will get the nomination.  Ms. Maxwell actually uttered this same malaphor last year when she was talking about Democrats avoiding calls for impeaching Trump.  Here was my post:

Zerlina Maxwell on MSNBC’s “Live with Katie Tur” uttered this beauty when she was talking about Democrats avoiding calls for impeaching Trump.  This is a barnyard mashup of “don’t count your chickens before they hatch” (don’t make future plans before they happen) and “chickens come home to roost” (you have to face the consequences of your mistakes).  “Chickens” of course are the culprit here, contributing to the mental yolk.  These  fowl phrases seem to get mixed up a lot  – see “Never count your eggs before they hatch (July 9, 2012 post) , and “Might the roosters be guarding the henhouse?” (August 2, 2014 post).  I was eggcited when several people laid this one on me.  First was the ubiquitous Mike Kovacs, followed quickly by James Kozlowski and Bob Maxwell (no relation).  Malaphor spotters are everywhere it seems.

https://malaphors.com/2018/08/27/they-dont-want-to-count-their-chickens-before-they-roost/

Zerlina, if you are following, please keep them coming.  We need to egg this process forward.  This is a favorite of mine.  The latest barnyard mashup was brought to you compliments of Beatrice Zablocki (“my ol’ pal”).

 


He always said 1990 was the year he hit the rocks

This one comes from New York Times reporter Susanne Craig, appearing on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, discussing her reporting on Donald Trump’s business losses during 1984-1994.  It is a congruent conflation of “hit rock bottom” and “hit the skids”, both referring to a period of trouble or decline.  Both contain the word “hit”, contributing to the mixup.  “Hit a new low” might also be in the mix.  A big thanks to Vicki Ameel Kovacs for hearing this one.  Vicki can spot a malaphor a mile away.