It sticks under my skin

Noah Rothman uttered this nice malaphor on the MSNBC show, “Morning Joe”, on March 21.  He was referring to Trump’s comments about McCain and Obamacare.  It is a congruent conflation (two idioms mixed with the same meaning) of “sticks in (one’s) craw” and “gets under (someone’s) skin”, both referring to something that is irritating or bothersome to someone.

So what’s a craw?

A craw is the crop of a bird or insect, the transferred sense of the word to refer to a person’s gullet (Free Dictionary).  Perhaps Mr. Rothman is a Frank Sinatra fan, thinking of the song “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”.  A big thanks to Frank King for hearing this one!


He’s crazy as a bat

You can guess who the speaker was referring to.  This is a nice congruent conflation of “crazy as a bedbug (or loon)” and “batshit crazy”, both describing someone who is insane.  “Bats in the belfry” also come to mind, although that is an old-fashioned phrase.  “Crazy like a fox” (clever) might have been in the mix, but I doubt it based on the person the speaker was referring to.  Hint:  he denigrates war heroes, and even when they’re dead.

It’s a collusion witch hoax

This one is self-evident – spoken by Trump to the press on March 8 after the Manafort sentencing.  This is a conflation of “witch hunt” (an attempt to blame and punish people who hold unpopular views and opinions, often under the guise of some other investigation) and “hoax” (to trick into believing as genuine something false).  Maybe it was used intentionally as shorthand talk, like “Tim Apple”.  A big thanks to Frank King for spotting this timely one.

Tie the tea leaves together

.This was heard on NPR’s “Here and Now” show.  A pundit was talking about trying to predict what the Mueller investigation report will be like, based on all the information that has been released so far.  It is a mashup of “reading the tea leaves” (predicting on little bits of information) and “tie it all together” (finish it up neatly).  “Tie up loose ends” (resolve some issues at the end that are not critical) might also be in the mix.  Tea leaves seem to confuse folks.  Previous malaphors have included “reading between the tea leaves” and “read between the tea lines”  A tip of the hat to John Costello for hearing this one!

They would jump on a bullet for him

This was uttered when discussing the blind loyalty of Trump supporters.  It is a congruent conflation of “take a bullet for (someone)” and “falling (or jumping) on a grenade for (someone)”, both meaning to accept a personally harmful or sacrificial task to protect someone else.  Jumping on a bullet doesn’t seem like a great sacrifice to me, so perhaps this speaker was not such a loyal follower.  A big thanks to John Kooser for hearing this one.

Starting to make a turn back?

This crazy word blend mash up is courtesy of a tweet from President Donald Trump.  Here is the tweet:

This is a word blend of “”turnaround” ( a complete change in opinion or method) and “comeback” (a return to popularity).  As I have noted before in previous posts, malaphors can be word blends or idiom blends.  The word blend seems to be a less common phenomenon.

This is the big, 40,000 foot question

Tim Mak, NPR political reporter on the NPR radio show, Here and Now, was discussing the recent indictment of Roger Stone.  He was retelling what was in the indictment, but questioning what evidence Special Counsel Robert Mueller has in his possession.  This gem can be heard at 5:15 of the following:

This is a wonderful conflation of “the 64,000 dollar question” (a question very important and/or difficult to answer) and “the 10,000 (or sometimes 20, 30, or 40,000) foot view” (a description of a problem or issue that provides general information, but short on details).  Idioms containing numbers are often jumbled.  I have posted some other great ones, such as “hindsight is 50/50” ( and “we were 3 sheets passing in the night” (  A big thanks to Tom Justice for hearing this one and sending it in!