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green behind the gills

February 3, 2014

 There was a magnificent mash-up of a malapropism in the sports section of today’s Daily Telegraph, courtesy of Mark Hughes, manager of Stoke City football club. Referring to David Moyes’ managerial experience, he said: ‘He’s not green behind the gills’.

Three different expressions have come together here. Hughes could just have said that Moyes wasn’t green, and left it at that. Or he could have said that Moyes wasn’t wet behind the ears. Not only did he mix these two up, but was tempted by a third idiom, ‘green at the gills’ (which has nothing to do with being inexperienced at all, but means to look ill). A spectacular hat-trick from Sparky.

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