Sunday, May 19, 2013

Mixed metaphor hunt

Here's something you can do to contribute to this site.

I would like you to find genuine mixed metaphors and put them in the comments section.

Mixed metaphors are common in journalism, especially sports and political writing and commentaries.

You can find many on the Web, including lots that are attributed to famous people, for example:


"The ship of state is sailing the wrong way down a one-way street." Ronald Reagan

"As we consider the road that unfolds before us..." Barack Obama

"I knew that alligators were in the swamp and that it was time to circle the wagons." Rush Limbaugh

"Brilliant sunshine rained down on Fort Collins." Rush Limbaugh

Some of the examples quoted on the Web are not really mixed metaphors but simple mistakes in completing a cliché, such as "tidy up loose ends" instead of "tie up loose ends" (Agatha Christie and Rush Limbaugh).

Others are obviously deliberate and quite witty, for instance: "Don't burn your bridges till you come to them." This isn't really a mixed metaphor because it is clearly meant literally (see my post on "literally"), as it is attributed to a world war II general, while implicitly alluding to the saying "Don't cross your bridges till you come to them."

Your mission, should you accept it, is to scour the Web for genuine examples of mixed metaphors of all kinds and -- even better -- note down examples of mixed metaphors you see in print or hear on the radio or television.

You can then put them, one at a time, into the comments section of this posting.

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