Mixed metaphors are combinations of incompatible metaphors which make the sentence appear funny and absurd. Read on to know more about the mixed metaphors and its examples.

Examples Of Mixed Metaphors

We all have heard about metaphors. They are figures of speech that compare two improbable things, as in the sentence; ‘My heart is a singing bird’. Metaphors provide emphasis and clarity to a sentence while mixed metaphors distract and confuse a reader. In mixed metaphors, two entirely different metaphors are taken together to make a comparison, in effect, rendering the sentence illogical and incoherent, as in the example, ‘A heart as big as gold’. When people try to become too detailed while conversing or even too careless while choosing a metaphor, mixed metaphors occur. This often makes the sentences appear hilarious and ridiculous as the metaphors used are conflicting and unrelated. However, mixed metaphors can be used to create humour deliberately. Being a bit more careful can help you avoid mixed metaphors in a sentence, ensuring that your language sounds logical, even when read. Read on to know more about mixed metaphors, with examples.
Mixed Metaphors
Mixed metaphors are often the result of inappropriate merging of two common metaphors. For example, the metaphor, “wake up and smell the coffee”, suggests you to be more alert and “read the writing on the wall”, implies to see the bad news which is already explicit. Mixed metaphors, using these two metaphors, would read something like, “Wake up and smell the coffee on the wall”. As a result, the imagery and the sentence appear illogical and inconsistent. Here are some examples:
  • Milking the temporary workers for all they were worth, the manager barked orders at them. (In this, the first image suggests cows and the second image is associated with dogs).
  • Unless we tighten our belts, we'll sink like a stone. (Unrelated comparison of belts and stone).
  • The fullback was a bulldozer, running up and down the field like an angel. (Unrelated comparison of bulldozer and angel).
  • We were swamped with a shocking barrage of work, and the extra burden had a clear impact on our workflow. (Combining many different images such as electrocution (shocking), a military attack (barrage), weight (burden), water (flow) and so on.)
  • The subject of global warming seems clouded in a sea of research. (Here, there are the conflicting images of cloud and sea).
  • The test is easy; it’s not rocket surgery. (Here, two clichés are mixed viz. ‘rocket science’ and ‘brain surgery’). 
More Examples
  • Some people sail through life on a bed of roses like a hot knife slicing through butter.
  • Footloose and fancy-pants.
  • It was playing with fire in the belly.
  • The lizard you keep in the kitchen has become the elephant in the living room in our relationship.
  • Danny can squeeze money out of a turnip.
  • David has come out of this one looking like a rose.
  • The bald eagle is the canary in the coal mine of the ecosystem.
  • From now on, I’m watching everything you do with a fine-tuned comb.
  • It’s as easy as falling off a piece of cake.
  • Change is now baked into the fabric of EDS.
  • Changes that will ignite our engines of growth
  • A rolling stone gathers no bird in the hand.
  • The 700 pound gorilla that escaped the zoo is the 800 pound gorilla.
  • That blue whale has become his white whale.
  • A car comes up behind you, flashing his horn.
  • A carpenter was the low rung on a totem pole.
  • The gold plating is the crown jewel of that necklace.
  • Dirty laundry is coming home to roost.
  • Do you follow where I'm coming from?
  • We were up the creek in a hand bag.
  • It’s best not to open that can of wax.
  • Theseus performed the herculean task of killing the Minotaur.
  • The new fighter jet is the flagship of the army.
  • A leopard can't change his stripes.
  • A rolling stone is worth two in the bush.
  • I don’t want anybody stepping on anybody else’s thunder.
  • You can’t pull the sheep over my eyes!
  • Hanging by a live wire.
  • We could stand here and talk until the cows turn blue.
  • You could have knocked me over with a fender.
  • Does that play into the equation?
  • Don't burn your bridges till you come to them.
  • The queen is the king of chess pieces.
  • That guy’s a bullhead in a china shop.
  • We don’t want this project to snowball into a can of worms.
Mixed metaphors are comic as well as absurd. They are those phrases or factors that must be avoided in a language unless an explicit humorous situation needs to be created.  

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