They keep kicking themselves in the foot

During the second intermission of the Penguins/Capitals hockey game last night, a commentator asked why the Capitals keep “kicking themselves in the foot.”  This is a nice mashup of “kick yourself (or themselves)” (annoyed with yourself for doing something) and “shooting yourself (themselves) in the foot” (to cause oneself difficulty).  Shooting and kicking are the culprits of the mix up.  A tip of the toque to Steve Kovacs for sharing this one.



Those politicians are just a crowd of gravy diggers

This one was overheard recently from malaphor follower Pat Mattimoe.  Pat says “this is what happens when the gold-diggers get on the gravy train.”  It’s a nice mashup of “gold digger” (a person who only pursues romantic relationships for financial gain) and “on the gravy train” (to be in a position of making lots of money without expending much effort).  Both phrases involve getting lots of money.  Perhaps the speaker had the monster truck jam tv commercial that always includes “Gravedigger!!”.  Who knows?  All I know it is an excellent malaphor.  Thanks Pat!

It’s dead as a cucumber

Chris Matthews from MSNBC was referring to the Graham-Cassidy Health Bill when he uttered this beauty.  He immediately realized his mistake and then said “dead as a door nail” but it was too late.  The malaphor is in the books.  It is a mashup of “dead as a door nail” (undoubtedly dead) and “cool as a cucumber” (extremely calm and in control of your emotions).  Certainly when you are dead you are pretty cool temperature-wise.  Perhaps this is what Mr. Matthews was thinking. I’m glad cucumbers are dead.  I still remember live tomatoes in the movie “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.”  A big thanks to “my ol’ pal” Beatrice Zablocki for hearing this one and passing it on quickly.

Liked this one?  Order my book “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors” for more.  Available on Amazon. Click on

It blew me off of my feet

This very well-formed malaphor was uttered on the HGTV show, Good Bones. “I really didn’t know what to expect.  It blew me off of my feet.”  It is a congruent conflation (the best kind of malaphors, in my opinion) of “knocked me off my feet” and “it blew me away”, both meaning to cause someone great pleasure or surprise.  Certainly a strong wind might blow one off one’s feet, but they stand a better chance of staying put if they have “good bones”.  A tip of the hat to David Stephens for hearing this one and sending it in!

Can’t you push some strings for me?

Ah, the old push/pull mix up.  This was heard in a drunken conversation.  It is a nice mash up of “pull some strings” (use influence with someone to get something done) and “push some buttons” (to do something exactly to get them to do what you want).  Perhaps “push (one’s) weight around” might also be in the mix as it concerns using one’s authority to get something done, similar in meaning to “pushing strings”.   Kudos to Trey Compton for hearing this one and passing it on!

Interestingly, “pushing on a string” does have a specific meaning, particularly in economics.  It is a figure of speech for influence that is more effective in moving things in one direction than another – you can pull, but not push.

If something is connected to someone by a string, they can move it toward themselves by pulling on the string, but they cannot move it away from themselves by pushing on the string. It is often used in the context of economic policy, specifically the view that “Monetary policy [is] asymmetric; it being easier to stop an expansion than to end a severe contraction.  Wikipedia.


This condo is a golden goose egg

The speaker was getting ready to put his condo in DC on the market and thought that he can get a lot of money from the sale. He then referred to his condo as the “golden goose egg.”   This is an incongruent conflation with opposite meanings – “kill the goose that laid the golden egg” (destroy riches through stupidity), “golden egg” (rich) and “goose egg” (zero).   “Sitting on a gold mine” (having something very valuable) is probably the expression the speaker meant to say, but then that big golden goose appeared in his mind and the rest was conflation.   This one is good as gold, and my thanks to Sid Sher for sending it in!

I’m going to give him a taste of my mind!

So there!  This gem was overheard in a restaurant.  The speaker was not happy with the way his food was prepared, so he proceeded to utter this mash up of “piece of one’s mind” (frank and severe criticism) and “a taste of one’s own medicine” (retaliation or repayment).   “Taste” must have been on his mind given the venue.  I wonder what the mind tastes like?  A shout out to David Stephens for sending this one in!