Gabe: This jackass just said that something can go "through a ferrocrete bunker like a neutrino through plasma." I get it, man. It says Star Wars on the cover. I know I'm reading about Star Wars. It's like, do they not have butter in space? Or hot knives to cut it with? Tycho: Listen, don't get your mynocks in a... sarlacc.
The author uses a popular and/or modern phrase in a work of Speculative Fiction, and adjusts it to the setting by replacing certain concepts with their more-or-less appropriate counterparts. Works as a sort of Shout-Out to make the reader/viewer more at home in the world, while at the same time highlighting the difference; it can also be used to disguise swears. Can backfire if the adjustment comes off as too arbitrary (e.g., if the proverb refers to concepts that should exist in the speculative setting as well).
At times these are specific to an exact scene, too. The replacement concepts can be tailored to characters and current action, rather than being a common phrase of its own. A cop with an antagonistic relationship to his Imperial liaison can sardonically say the liaison's investigation team got past security like X-Wings go through a Death Star. In this way it can overlap with Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?, though it can refer to past moments anywhere on the spectrum of awesome and suck.
Related to Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp" and Future Slang inasmuch as they're all about creating immersion through language use. The difference is that Hold Your Hippogriffs is, for one, not about words but phrases; for another, Hold Your Hippogriffs doesn't always create new words, although it can. It's also related to Flintstone Theming, but with fewer puns.
Supertrope of Oh My Gods!. Not related to Call a Pegasus a "Hippogriff". The inverse of this, when a word is replaced due to never having the chance to exist, is Orphaned Etymology.
"Maybe if you weren't such a big fat Swinub pig, we'd get to the boat on time!"
"When the Swinub pigs fly."
"That Pachirisu is faster than water off a Wailord's duck's back."
Justified in that horses and pigs may not exist in the world of Pokémon, though "Hold your Ponyta/Rapidash!" would have made more sense. Plus Horsea is a really small Pokémon, so eating one wouldn't be all that satisfying either.
This is especially ridiculous in the Marvel Apes comics; "a human's monkey's uncle" is an idiomatic phrase, except there are no humans in the Marvel Apes universe. Literally none. A few characters are mutated into human-like forms, but humanity is by and large nonexistent.
René Goscinny liked using this trope in his comics:
In Astérix, typical French curses involving God are transformed into those which involve Roman and Gaulish deities. There's also phrases like "a big girl's tunica blouse", a sign which tells people to 'wipe their caligae boots', "in their good tablets"...
Lucky Luke's intellectual horse says, when crossing a river, "And the veterinarian doctor told me not to bathe immediately after pasturing. eating."
MAD's Golden Age parody "Mickey Rodent" had Darnold Duck turn to Mickey and call him a "dirty rat," with the word "rat" crossed out and "human" inserted.
In Pokémon fanfics, "Hold your Ponyta/Rapidash horses!"
The Legend of Zelda Fanfiction and Fancomics tend to substitute the words "God" or "Jesus" with either "Nayru", "Din" or "Farore", depending on which one is the most "fitting". Especially striking in the fan-flash series Unknown Origin, where Original Character "Biggs" would often shout "For Farore's sake!!" or "Oh my Din!!" whenever something weird happens to Link.
In Hoofstuck, Pinkie Pie is confused over whether or not she should say everypony when talking to the reader. She can't come up with the right word (everyone/everybody) though.
Hi everypony! Or wait a second, not everypony! Everyhuman? No, that sounds dumb. You guess you could say everyman, but why would you greet anypony with an old morality play? That's like the opposite of a party.
Discussed in MAGIC.MOV, where Spike doesn't see the difference between "anybody" and "anypony".
Spike: You know, you can say anybody. Instead of anypony. Frankly I don't see what the point of that is. I would have know what you would meant if you would have said anybody. Seems to me like that's the kind of thing everybody's doing just because everybody else is doing.
In Harry Potter and the Dragon's Revenge Neville commented that after Michael Corner got into Cho Chang's knickers he dropped her "like an exploding cauldron."
In The Lion Tamer Umbridge was thinking that if she could catch Harry doing something wrong and Dumbledore trying to aid him she could "kill two doxies with one hex."
In Rocking the Boat it was stated that Dumbledore decided not to "bemoan a spilled cauldron cry over spilled milk."
In the Harry Potter/X-Men crossover Mutant Storm Snape, commenting on Dumbledore's extreme reluctance to use deadly force, remarked that "If you want to make a proper potion, you have to break a few ashwinder eggs."
In 3 Slytherin Marauders Voldemort's saner, freed-from-the-diary Tom Riddle persona commented that a lecture by the new assistant professor of History of Magic "set the kneazle among the jarveys."
In Lunch at Maxine's Ron commented to his mother that he'd told her that when she "woke up and smelled the wolfsbane" he and Luna would start coming back to the Burrow.
In A Marauder's Plan McGonagall stated that the "proof was in the casting" and referred to a recent trip to Thailand by Dumbledore as a "wild nargle chase." Several chapters later, Sirius was mulling over something which happened years ago and decided that it was "all magic through the wand water under the bridge."
In Came Out of the Darkness Draco Malfoy scoffed at something and Narcissa commented "Draco remember, never judge a dragon by a single scale."
In Not Normal a relative of Arthur Weasley commented "No sense in reinventing the wand."
Captain Kanril walks onto her ship's bridge after a one night stand and her Andorian first officer remarks that she's acting "like a grayth cat that just dined on prize alicorn parakeet".
When Gaarra gets tongue-tied at the prospect of the Bajor having a Cardassian bartender in Ten Forward, said bartender says to him, "vole cat got your tongue, Commander Reshek?" (For reference, a Cardassian vole.)
From "Reality Is Fluid", a Challenge Fic starring the same characters, Tess, the aforementioned Andorian, says that the Bajor has "a cinder's chance in the Northern Wastes" of taking out an enormous Undine fleet. This makes for something of an Inverted Trope version, as the Northern Wastes of Andoria are nothing but glaciers.
In Mockingbird Harry commented that he should probably "grip the broom by the handle grab the bull by the horns."
Considering that the whole franchise was a commentary about racism, you can't forget a line like "The only goodhuman Indian is a DEADhuman! Indian!"
Alexander manages to naturally do this, replacing phrases like "By God!" with "By Zeus!" or "In the name of the Gods!" instead of the singular, and other such things using ancient Greek-era things in place of more modern phrases and outbursts. A few times, it tends to get too clunky and usual, with things like "By Athena's Justice, this girl has spirit" that tend to be less artificial and more sticking out like a sore thumb.
At the climax of Oh, God! You Devil, when the Devil (George Burns) loses his nerve in a poker showdown with God (also George Burns), God comments, "I put the fear of me God into you."
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier Had Kirk mentioning "Moon over Rigel- 7 Miami" as a potential campfire sing-along. When this movie was later riffed, Mike Nelson and Kevin Murphy mocked the use of this trope with such song titles as I Left My Heart On Tau Ceti Five in San Francisco and I Have Thirteen Eyes For You.
"God rest ye, merry hippogriffs gentlemen" being sung by Sirius at Christmas in Order of the Phoenix. (This may very well have been Sirius messing with the words for his own sake, since he was attending on Buckbeak at the time.)
"Which came first, the phoenix chicken or the flame? egg?"
"It's like losing a Knut penny and finding a Galleon pound."
Justified in this case, as wizards have their own currency and know nothing of Muggle money.
In fact, in the Film, the band in one movie does a song pretty much entirely of this trope.
They also tend to refer to Merlin in addition to God. Which makes sense, one supposes.
Speaking of swearing by Merlin, "Merlin's pants!" could very well be a stand-in for "Holy shit!", considering the following:
"Pants" is British slang for "rubbish";
Another term for "rubbish" is "bullshit" or simply "shit"; and
When Hermione uses the term, Ron realizes she's got her wand in a much tighter knot than usual, for her to be saying that (also consider that he is himself guilty of swearing loudly numerous times throughout the series).
Speaking of Merlin's pants, quoth Ron: "How in the name of Merlin's pants holy name of shit have you managed to get your hands on those Horcrux books?"
Rita Skeeter also once makes reference to a "bring and fly buy sale".
In the Discworld books, most of the examples of this trope are simply their setting-appropriate equivalents. E.G.:
Men at Arms has "...some Watchman blundering around upsetting things, like a loose ... a loose siege catapult. cannon."; "...up the Ankh shit creek without a paddle"; "Does adragon explode bear shitin the woods?" (although the original version is also in use); and "Like a fish needs a ... a thing that doesn't work underwater a bicycle, sir."
A weird one that started out as a Nanny Ogg malapropism in Carpe Jugulum, and then somehow became the accepted version of the phrase in later books is: "The leopard does not change his shorts." In Unseen Academicals, this phrase's complete meaninglessness gets lampshaded.
Another common mangled saying is "the worm is on the other boot", a mash-up of "the worm has turned" and "the boot is on the other foot".
The tendency of Honest Johns in UK media to call everyone "squire" (CMOT Dibbler does this) gets extended to other Discworld cultures, with a camel merchant who calls Teppic "emir" in Pyramids, and Disembowel-Meself-Honorably calling Rincewind "shogun" in Interesting Times.
Klatch's role as the "generically foreign" country to Morporkians means we get "Excuse my Klatchian French" and "That isn't Klatchian Scotch mist, lad" (both by Ridcully in Soul Music).
A few aversions are lampshaded early on, when he notes that the use of the phrase "gypsies" is anomalous, given that there is no such thing as Egypt, but some words of place-name origin need to be kept for coherency's sake, so he's not calling them Djelibabies, as technically appropriate as that would be.
"This is a hell of a way to spend Hogswatch! Christmas!" (Hogfather)
Trolls refer to "legends from the sunset dawn of time." Either because they're nocturnal (according to The Light Fantastic), or because they think we go through time backwards (according to Thud!, based on a line in Reaper Man).
Wedge: [after a very agreeable breakup, and having said that he hopes she'll still consider him a friend] "Meaning you can still call on me. Send me messages. Send me Life day Christmas presents."
"These guys◊ went through the estate's defenses easier than Rebels go through a Death Star joke about cheap food of any kind / hot knife through butter."
It's not the work of Venthan Chassu, Rembrandt, but it beats bare walls.
Less chance than a flame snowflakeon Hoth. in Hell.
If one person calls you a Hutt, drunk, laugh it off. If two people call you a Hutt, drunk, start to wonder. If three people call you a Hutt, drunk,buy a drool bucket and start hoarding spice. go home and lie down. (Stackpoleinvents a lot of these.)
None. If the Light's out you can't see them cheating at Sabacc. poker.
Speaking of which, there's no such thing as a "poker face". Instead, you'd have a "Sabacc face".
She took to it like a sarlacc duck to sand. water.
That one is strange, since they do have ducks. And water. And because not all sarlaccs live in deserts.
If The Force is with us, it's definitely The Dark Side. it weren't for bad luck, we'd have no luck at all.
This looks like a dew milk-run.
Also used: a "blue milk-run".
Stick the vibroblade knife in and modulate the oscillation rate. twist it.
The airspeeder dropped like a freefalling Hutt. rock.
The same character a few pages later said the same speeder "dropped like a rock", so "freefalling Hutt" was probably just for color.
As the smugglers say, we were putting all our spice eggs in one freighter basket.
Don't plot a course into that black hole go there.
I get the holo picture.
I'll walk away, shedding my crimes like a Trandoshan snake sheds its skin.
In that case it was deliberate — a criminal offered to hand over some crucial info in exchange for immunity from prosecution, money, and a way off planet, and was amused when an old enemy was sent to pick him up. He knew she needed the info and was too honorable to go against the deal, so he used this phrase to remind her that he had let the Trandoshan who had murdered a friend walk free.
This really came out of the asteroid belt. blue.
Alternately, it came out of the black, as in deep space.
"Like a neutrino hot knife through plasma. butter."
A similar but less arbitrary example from one of the Young Jedi Knights books: Lando says that a certain diamond drill can cut through durasteel just as easily as a laser can cut through Sullustan jam.
A particularly egregious one: What time is it when an Imperial AT-AT Walker elephant steps on your wrist chronometer? wristwatch? Time to get a new wrist chronometer. wristwatch.
Wedge Antilles is said to have ice water in his veins and cold-space lubricants for blood.
"And then ask yourself if that doesn't make you look a bit like a dewback's cloaca horse's arse."
"He's a few starships cans/sandwiches short of a fleet. six-pack/picnic.."
Tending children is like herding Gammorean slime cats just plain cats.
The Redwall books love these. Some examples include "the leaf pot calling the grass green kettle black" and "I'll bet you an apple to an acorn" (the equivalent of "dollars to donuts").
"If wishes were fishes, there'd be no room in the river for water. horses, beggars would ride." (Also many creative insults, the best being "If brains were bread you'd have starved to death before you were born!")
"There's more than one way of frying a frog. skinning a cat." Weird, you'd think Ferahgo would love to talk about skinning things...
From The Iron Sunrise by Charles Stross, we have "Never bring a tazer knife to an artillery duel a gun fight", and the ReMastered philosophy "Upload Kill them all, the unborn god God will know its his own."
The Hollows has several, such as "You look like the vamp who drained the cat. cat who got the cream."
"If life hands you ungaberries, lemons, you've got to make detergent. lemonade." (Ferengi)
"Played me like a Syn Lara. violin." (Trill)
"The Bloodwing's lion's share", and "like h'vart cats in an alley." (Both Romulan)
"The pin straw that broke the zipthar’s wing camel's back".(Human colonists on Deneva)
"The sauce icing on the slugsteak cake (Ferengi)
"Nervous as a tiku in a kava reap" (Bajoran)
One that's almost the same: "Plenty of other Suckerfish in the River".
"If Ice Bores kill your Ailicorne, make Ailicorne steaks". (Andorian). There are also the Andorian axioms "Absence makes the heart forget" and "What goes around comes around...but with a sharper knife".
The Ferengi morality tale of "The Boy Who Cried Audit"
"Like Honge on fresh meat" (Cardassian). Also the Cardassian saying "the enemy of my enemy is also my enemy, but may prove useful".
"Sap and fog", for when Nasats are being dismissive.
"Screw with the Mugato, you're getting the horn".
"In a Tribble's eye!" (Which didn't need to be said, because McCoy uses the phrase "In a pig's eye!" in the original series).
Dragaera: In the book Issola, Lady Teldra makes a reference to Vlad engaging in "gray humor". This is the equivalent of what we would call "black humor"- the difference is that in the series, black is the color of magic and gray is the color of death.
They also have "how many X does it take to sharpen a sword?" instead of Light Bulb Jokes.
"Don't get your whiskers panties in a twist. bunch."
"That's a load of fox-dung! bullshit!"
"You're crow-food! dead meat!"
"Cloudtail's mew bark is worse than his scratch. bite."
"We shall kill two prey birds with one blow, stone, as it were."
"Who made dirt pissed in his fresh-kill Cheerios?"
"You look as if you've lost a rabbit pound and found a shrew penny."
"No use wailing crying over lost prey spilled milk."
A clever and appropriate use in Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers novel, "...on the bounce." Its meaning ranges from along the lines of 'don't waste time' to 'stay alert', depending on the context it's used in.
In Safehold, "kill the wyvern goose that fetched laid the golden rabbit egg."
Fridge Logic: But why would you kill the wyvern out of greed? Does it puke up the rabbit after fetching it? And they have chickens on Safehold, so why not geese? Why not just use another bird in place of the goose? Arrgh!
Also, "between the doomwhale Devil and the deep blue sea."
The Automatic Detective loves this trope — among others, Mack, as narrator, once says that "Grey had me by the directives balls", and use of "exhaust port" (as per the Transformers example) is a common stand-in for "ass" in all manner of expressions.
Guardians of Ga'Hoole does this a few times. Most common is the use of "gizzard" in place of things like "know in my heart" or "bad feeling in my gut".
"Are you yoinks crazy"?
"Racdrops" is a common swear, short for "raccoon droppings".
"Glaux" is used in place of "God" ie "Great Glaux!".
H. Beam Piper: one book replaced "hot knife" and "butter" with "fast neutrons" and "toilet paper".
In the Honor Harrington novels, characters from planets other than Earth (most of the cast), typically substitute native fauna into their metaphors, such as "We've got the hexapumanote tiger by the tail" or "If you had the sense God gave a near-turkey". A few technological metaphors show up - "adding hydrogennote gasoline to the fire".
The Ciaphas Cain series is fond of the phrase "going ploin-shaped pear-shaped, a British idiom equivalent to "going very wrong"."
Oddly enough, the phrase "what the dickens" actually appears in Shakespeare's writing and has nothing to do with the author Dickens at all ("the dickens" = "the Devil"), but it would be even odder for Charles Dickens to say "what the dickens".
Then topped two seasons later when Shakespeare says "What the Chaucer?"
In "The Name of the Doctor", after the Doctor is conned by Clara's young charges, he mutters, "Why those little...Daleks rascals!"
Star Trek: Voyager has "I didn't want to be a third nacelle. 5th wheel" (Ships in Star Trek almost always have an even number of warp nacelles, usually 2)
One of the CDi games has "I'm so hungry, I could eat an octorok a horse!"
Wakka instructs Tidus over the course of Final Fantasy X to hold his chocobos. The Chocoboy of Final Fantasy VIII instructed Squall to do the same. There's also Wakka's "son of a Shoopuf!" and another character's "...my shoopuf!"
In Nautilus in Final Fantasy XIII, there's a boy who asks his parent to give him a "chocoback ride."
Mass Effect 2 features an advertisement for a movie about "Blasto, the first hanar Spectre", whose trademark phrases are "This one has no time for your solid waste excretions" and "Enkindle THIS!"
Mass Effect 3 features many excerpts from the movie, the humor of which often stems from this trope.
When you first meet Legion, Tali mentions that a single geth would have no more intelligence than a wild varren. It makes more sense since varren are basically Space Dogs, and 99% of the characters, humans included, probably never saw a real life dog before.
Quarians in general use the term "Keelah" in place of "God" note though literally it's probably closer to "ancestors," given what the codex says about quarian religion., and "Keelah se'lai" is said at the end of certain discussions, including the hearing in front of the admiralty board. Replace it with "God be with you", and it's a perfect fit.
Mass Effect 3 reveals it to effectively mean "The homeworld which I shall one day see.", which is similar, given how mythical their homeworld is to the Quarians by this point.
Inverted early on, at one point Vega brings up a more traditional "shooting fish in a barrel", which is a completely alien concept to Garrus.
Dwarven curses in the Dragon Age setting include "Go take a long breath out of a short shaft," which from context and phrasing probably means "Go die in a hole."
It might be a modification of "go take a long walk off a short pier", basically, "shut up" or "go f*ck yourself".
The above saying most likely refers to the breathing of lyrium dust in the mines. Lyrium is basically the setting's magical macguffin, but it is very toxic to mortal beings. Breathing lyrium dust can, even in the best of circumstances, reduce you to a gibbering idiot, at worst, well...you don't want to know.
They also use "Nug-humping" where a modern person would probably use "Motherfucking."
In addition, there's the phrase "by the maker", as well as a few references to Andraste throughout both games.
This Very Wiki will sometimes alter trope names to fit the work that the page is dedicated to. Especially the Just for Fun page for Daring Do, where all the tropers are supposed to be sentient horses, zebras, griffons, etc.
Futurama has "You sound like a broken MP3. record."
Transformers does this a lot, replacing certain lines in stock phrases with robotic related terms, especially when talking about body-parts. It also uses this technique for Getting Crap Past the Radar.
Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers: Upon having to fight their way out of a Earth-government facility, running from the Space Navy, and learning they're headed for Tortuna. "Out of the blast furnace, frying pan, and into the converter! fire!"
In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "The Algae Grass's Always Greener": "A rolling stone gathers no Algae! moss!"
What was first? The oyster chicken or the pearl egg?
A number of phrases on Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends (which focuses on the adventures of sentient insects and other bugs), but most particularly "hold your horseflies!"
Aang is such a pacifist, he even helps "the spider-fly stuck in its own web."
At one point in Korra, Mako advises his brother Bolin to handle a breakup quickly, "like pulling off a leech bandage." While this was a bit of Self-Deprecation about how Mako didn't do just that in his own breakup last season, it wound up being a poor choice of words on the creators' part as they had to reassure viewers that Mako was not in fact calling his ex-girlfriend a leech.
"For the love of herring God! Would someone please turn that off that infernal noise!"
There was a story in Reader's Digest about a student of medieval history who explained she was far too busy to do something by saying "I've just got too much on my trencher plate."
Some foreign proverbs translated into your language (which have an equivalent) can look like this. For instance, the English proverb "The grass is always greener on the other side" becomes "The cherries in your neighbor's garden are always sweeter" in German. (Die Kirschen in Nachbars Garten schmecken immer süßer.)
People will jokingly ask "What do atheists say during sex?" or what phrases they use to replace "Oh my God." and "Jesus Christ" and the answer is, in the joke at least, something like "Oh my science." or something to that effect.