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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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”).
This was uttered on the Rachel Maddow show. It was regarding Devlin Barrett’s breaking story regarding Mueller’s letter to Barr about his concerns with Barr’s summary. It is a nice congruent conflation of “egg someone on” and “move (something) forward” both meaning to cause or encourage someone to do something. A big thanks to Frank King, the Mental Health Comedian, for hearing this one!
This amazing malaphor was uttered by Donald Trump, on his reaction to Bill Barr’s performance as Attorney General and how Barr has handled the Mueller Report.
“Attorney General Barr is going to be giving a press conference and maybe I’ll do one after that, we’ll see. But he’s been a fantastic attorney general. He’s grabbed it by the horns,” Trump said.
It is a mashup of “grab the bull by the horns” (take control of a difficult situation) and Trump’s own expression, “grab ’em by the p***y” (stating that since he is rich and powerful he can do anything he wants with women). Given the speaker, it is probably a good bet that the latter expression was floating in his mind when he uttered this malaphor. Perhaps the word “horns” triggered the mix up? A big thanks to Mike Kovacs for hearing this gem and realizing it was a genuine malaphor. Excellent work, Mike. Keep those ears open.