I'm pretty sure there is a word for repeating a common expression wrong but in saying it wrongly the expression undertakes a whole new meaning. For the life of me I cannot recall the word and no matter what I search I only get click-baity lists of common expressions said wrongly.

There is also a related word for when that expression doesn't make any sense at all, bonus points if you can answer with the words for both.

  • While I cant think of any examples off the top of my head, I have most certainly encountered people spouting completely nonsensical statements that sound similar to an applicable saying for the situation. I'm always dumbfounded how these people will repeat sentences like a parrot without thinking about what it is they're actually saying and how little sense it makes. – Trotski94 Mar 16 '16 at 12:04
  • @JamesTrotter I recently had an email from a respected software supplier of financial services software saying "...for all intense purposes...", will that do as an example? :) – Marv Mills Mar 16 '16 at 12:50
  • I know this is super old, but the word is "eggcorn" – Glitcher Dec 11 '19 at 20:08

This question is splendidly imprecise about the kind of imprecision that impels it!

However... you seem to be navigating in the waters of neologisms (e.g. bunny-boiler), malapropisms (e.g. saying illegible instead of ineligible) and spoonerisms (e.g. the tider of sad bearings). In various contexts, all of these cases can result in usages becoming widely adopted in culture. You might also be dealing with slang material such as 'lush' or 'sick' meaning 'wonderful'.

In the same area we have things like 'skellington', recognised as a childish mispronunciation; but at the same time it has been (fairly) recently celebrated and affirmed as a warmly comfortable familiarity that we all recognise, in the name of Tim Burton's lead character in the (brilliant) film The Nightmare Before Christmas.

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