In Russian, when a person mixes something up, they can jokingly say "mixed it up with the right angle" (перепутал с прямым углом).

This comes from an old joke:

"Water boils at 90 degrees."

"Sorry, but the textbook says water boils at 100 degrees!"

"Oh, you're right. Mixed it up with the right angle."

Is there a similar catchphrase in English?

"Hey man, check out that Scottish singer, Andie MacDowell, she's so cool!"

"Dude, Andie MacDowell is an American actress. Did you mean Amy MacDonald?"

"Oh you're right! _____ ! (Mixed it up with the right angle)"

Update: I'm not looking for a vocabulary term, but rather for a universally known joke, an ironic expression which is used to complete the statement. Something similar to "... and Bob's your uncle" or "... is the Pope Catholic?", but applicable to this situation.

  • 1
    If you knew the right name but just said the wrong one, you could claim it was a brain fart or a senior moment (if you're of the right age) or you could say, "I always get those two confused"
    – Jim
    Dec 11 '15 at 17:10
  • Ironically, I've just noticed I mixed up right angle and straight angle.
    – Quassnoi
    Dec 11 '15 at 17:24
  • 1
    I'm regular and right, but not normal. (math joke that very few will understand)
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Dec 11 '15 at 18:05
  • @KitZ.Fox I'm a physicist (sort of) and didn't get your joke, so I guess it's a bit too private a joke.
    – Færd
    Dec 12 '15 at 2:15
  • @Fard Regular - look under Mathematics, right and normal, with a play on words.
    – Lawrence
    Dec 12 '15 at 6:23

You're right, it was just a memory lapse.

  • an occurrence in which you fail to think or act in the usual or proper way for a brief time and make a mistake

Not a joke at all, but explains the the momentary confusion. But if you want to be humorous you might say: "Oh, can it be Alzheimer?" Some people may not find it funny, though.

  • 1
    An oversight occurs when you made a mistake due to not looking deeply enough into the problem or to not paying close enough attention to the management of a situation. Forgetting to order cups for the party might be due to an oversight.
    – Jim
    Dec 11 '15 at 17:07
  • The OP's looking specifically for: a universally known joke, an ironic expression
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 12 '15 at 6:37
  • Oops, I just saw your last suggestion. "Oh, can it be Alzheimer?" People do say something similar, Italians also say "I have Alzheimer's" when they've forgotten something trivial or unimportant; it can be an effective self-mocking expression.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 12 '15 at 6:59

In English, it is known as screwing up!

screw up

to interfere with someone or something; to mess up someone or something

It is worth pointing out that screw up is an informal usage.

Note: A less informal phrase would be to mess things up!

So in your case,

"Oh you're right! I screwed up!"


"Oh you're right! I messed up!"

  • @Jim - I realized that and have edited my answer accordingly.
    – BiscuitBoy
    Dec 11 '15 at 17:08

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