Do Icebergs Itch?

I was watching one of those nature specials the other day, about the Humbolt squid. The main diver was talking about the complexity of these animals when he said, “Sometimes, as I study these marvelous creatures, I think I’m just scratching the tip of the iceberg.” He wasn’t joking, of course, but I wonder if these types of mixed metaphors enrich our language or only poke fun at the commenter. What do you think?

DadWords07/31/05 3 comments


David • 08/08/05 1:12 AM:

Both. Obviously if it’s done on purpose, it’s brilliant. Most often, though, it’s not on purpose, but still very funny.

Dad • 09/02/05 11:43 PM:

One of my favorite mixed metaphors is one I overhead at work years ago. It was a phone conversation in which another engineer was trying to convey how bad a particular option was. Mixing the concepts of a schoolyard bully who takes your lunch money and a hard-luck gambler playing strip poker, he said, “…that really eats your shirt.”

Patrick • 09/11/05 12:27 AM:

This is not really a mixed metaphor, but I didn’t think it’d warrant its own entry. In any case, Charlie Weis is now the first Notre Dame coach to win his first two games on the road since Knute Rockne in 1918. In response, he said, “If I answered by dignifying that, (Bill) Parcells and (Bill) Belichick would humiliate me,” Weis said about his coaching mentors when asked about his connection to Rockne. “I’ve just coached two games and they’ve played two games. Let’s come back and revisit that in about 10 years.”

Did you catch it? He meant “If I dignified that by answering,” of course. Maybe I should have posted this in the comments on the George W. Bush movie where he says “Families is a place where wings can take dream.”

In any case, Charlie Weis is a football coach, not the leader of the free world, so I can forgive him this gaffe.

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