For Readers, For Writers

The Weird and Wonderful World of Malaphors

The English language is a funny thing sometimes.

Especially when used incorrectly, as in the case of malaphors.

A malaphor is the blending of two idioms to produce an utterly meaningless (but usually very funny) phrase.

For example:

It’s not rocket surgery!

You hit the nail on the nose

We’ll burn that bridge when we come to it

If you’re paying attention, you’ll find that malaphors pop up all the time in the modern-day news-cycle.

So much so, there’s even a blog dedicated entirely to current examples.

(Rep Steve Cohen told MSNBC earlier this month that White House Counsel Don McGahn might be “thrown to the fishes”)

The Oxford Dictionary blog also has a good collection, along with adorable illustrations by the very talented Livi Prendergast.

You can’t teach a leopard new spots

Teach-a-leopard-new-spots-800X550

Until the cows come home to roost

Until-the-cows-come-home-to-roost-800X550

Don’t judge a book before it’s hatched

Dont-judge-a-cover-before-its-hatched-800X550

Malaphors should not be confused with malaprops – which are equally nonsensical and equally hilarious.

Malaprops are when an incorrect word is used in place of a similar-sounding word – such as when former Irish Taoiseach Bernie Ahern warned against “upsetting the apple tart” of Ireland’s economy.

But that’s a post for another day….

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