OPED: “It’s not rocket surgery!”

RBC | “M” words are some of the best. “Magnificent!” “Marvelous!” “Magical!” I even like “millennial.” Shocking, I know.

A new favorite “m” word of mine is “malaphor.” Ever heard of them? A malaphor, according to yourdictionary.com is “an idiom blend: an error in which two similar figures of speech are merged, producing a nonsensical result.” It’s actually a combination of two “m” words (even better!)—metaphor and malaprop. It was coined by a man named Lawrence Harrison in 1976. He attended lots and lots of bureaucratic meetings, and he heard some real gems. If you’ve ever attended meetings (a much less favorite “m” word), you can easily understand how malaphors are created.

Bureaucrats aren’t the only culprits, however. My penchant for saying whatever comes to mind often ends in delightful blends of awkwardness, talking way too fast, and plenty of misnomers and malaphors.

Lots of them. I’ve said quite a few, and they always make for a good laugh after the appropriate amount of cringing and wishing I could disappear with an “Alakazam!” and a puff of smoke. And maybe some glitter.

I won’t waste any more space here when we can let malaphors do the work.

Here’s my favorites:

It’s not rocket surgery!

We’ll burn that bridge when we come to it.

You’ve opened this can of worms, now lie in it!

Put that in your cake and eat it.

I think you’re barking up the wrong end of the stick.

When the cat’s away, do as the Romans do.

Until the cows come home to roost.

He smokes like a fish.

I don’t want to toot my own hat here.

Roll up your elbows and get to work.

Let’s not chase a dead horse.

It’s a vicious triangle.

They’re not the sharpest egg in the attic.

Nip it in the butt.

– Until the pigs freeze over.

Let’s all get our ducks on the same page. (This is a definite favorite.)

Do you know which idioms these malaphors come from? What are some of your favorites?