Monday, September 8, 2014

Flips of the Tongue, 2014

Once again, I've accumulated enough flips of the tongue to make a post. I have heard or read all of these: No secondhand reports here. Many are mixed metaphors, while others are malapropisms or eggcorns.

The ship had sailed down that road. Proclaimed by Uni Blake, a pro-fracking representative on the Melissa Harris Perry show.

We're skating on thin ice if we continue on autopilot. As heard on NPR last fall.

It's not UPC to discuss mental institutions. From a comment on This one might be an autocorrect problem, but funny nonetheless.

A nurse I met, who was wearing a uniform top decorated with friendly Paul Frank monkeys, referred to them as Anne Frank monkeys.

Someone was talking about the golden age of comedy, probably on NPR. The speaker then mentioned Laurel and Hardy, followed by Elvis and Costello.

I recently heard someone say Kamikaze group when Posse Comitatus group was what was intended. (That one is a bit of a Freudian slip.)

And then there was the person who referred to a soldier going AOL (instead of AWOL). I wonder if any CDs were sent out to find him?

At some point during the Senate filibuster last fall, President Obama said the members of the Senate were grinding the gears of government to a halt.

You've got to bring up the white elephants in the room. Spoken by Minneapolis Community and Technical College student Cody Mehlin in a story about Prof Shannon Gibney. That darned colorful elephant and its cousin the heavy gorilla are two of the most mixed-up phrases I've heard, coming up twice before as flips of the tongue and once in a stand-alone post.

This may just be griping and grammar sniping, but I recently had a client who thinks ergo (therefore) is the same thing as e.g. (exempli gratia, which means for example). It took me a while to figure out what s/he was talking about because it just didn't make any sense. (This person also thinks usages of "which" should be proceeded by a semicolon instead of a comma. And that dominate is an adjective synonymous with dominant — the dominate person, for instance. But I should stop grumbling about this.)

Repeat the basic quarry. Clearly, the query must have turned to stone. (From a comment thread.)

Wouldn't it be embarrassing if you didn't know the difference between the slang term Johnson (meaning penis) and John Hancock (meaning signature, as in, "We just need your John Hancock here"). I can't remember what the context was when I encountered this one, but I think it was a person who referred to a penis as a John Hancock, rather than the other way around. Thank goodness. Imagine if someone were to point at a form that needs to be signed and said, "We just need your Johnson here."

More on the pits:

My last post about flips of the tongue listed the misuse of "pit in my stomach." Later, I heard someone else use that expression and checked into how common the usage is. While reading about it, I found this:
At least 'pit in my stomach' and 'hone in on' make sense, and are therefore genuine eggcorns. A few days ago I stumbled on a comment on a blog which said that something 'warmed the cuckolds of my heart'. A Google search confirmed that it wasn't unique. A malapropism, not an eggcorn, of course (and therefore off-topic?) but I couldn't resist sharing it. (commenter Steven F.)
That quote comes from a discussion thread about the writing of Thomas Friedman, which also included this bit of verbal brilliance, masked as a flip of the tongue:
Friedman marches to the tune of a different kettle of fish. (commenter Dan Lufkin)

Past Flips of the Tongue:

December 2007
January 2008
March 2008
June 2008
December 2008
December 2010 
August 2013

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