Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I do not think you said what you think you said.

It is not always clear when people say expressions wrong whether they have merely mispronounced them or whether they have no idea how they should be pronounced. When I hear one I may ask the person to repeat it, or I may just sit back and ponder what the person thinks it means and why.

Let me trot out a few I have enjoyed as an example, and what they could mean if they were the actual expression:

Cool, calm, and collective: That satisfied feeling a hippie gets in the early days of the commune, before human desires, boredom, argumentativeness, and selfishness turn the whole thing to crap.

A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Philippines: Evidence that St. Paul's reach far exceeded the range classically ascribed to him, this letter was sent to a tribe of Hebrew Negritos (called Negribrews) around A.D. 55. Almost 1500 years later, Magellan finally delivered it.

Mea copa: I feel really guilty, but only for the things I did at the Copacabana.

He forgives you.

As rich as crocus: Yes, those little purple flowers are a wealth of delight for the eyes after a long winter, are they not?

Flotsam and gypsum: Rocks float!

On tenderhooks: If I have to be on hooks, these are the hooks to be on.

Some of them are really charming, and in fact would make excellent Slip Mahoneyisms. I'm sure the malaprop master would approve.

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