mondegreen

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Coined by Sylvia Wright in Harper’s Magazine (The Death of Lady Mondegreen, Nov 1954) from a mishearing of a line in the Scottish ballad The Bonny Earl of Murray: "They have slain the Earl of Murray, / And laid him on the green" (misheard as “Lady Mondegreen”).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

Examples (mishearing)
  • “The ants are my friends, blowin’ in the wind.” (“The answer, my friend, is...”) from Bob Dylan'sBlowin' In the Wind.”
  • “There's a bathroom on the right” (“There's a bad moon on the rise”) from Creedence Clearwater Revival'sBad Moon Rising.”
  • “'Scuse me while I kiss this guy” (“'Scuse me while I kiss the sky”) from Jimi Hendrix'sPurple Haze.”
  • “Andy walks with me…” (“And He walks with me…”) from the hymn “In The Garden”
  • “Our Father, Who art in Heaven, Harold be Thy name…” (“…hallowed be thy name…”) from the Lord’s Prayer

mondegreen (plural mondegreens)

  1. A form of error arising from mishearing a spoken or sung phrase
  2. (rare) A misunderstanding of a written or spoken phrase as a result of multiple definitions.

See also[edit]