Monday, July 23, 2012


Mondegreens can be thought of as aural malapropism. Instead of saying the wrong word, you hear the wrong word.  The term mondegreen was originally coined by author Sylvia Wright. As a child, Wright heard the lyrics of “The Bonny Earl of Murray” (a Scottish ballad) as: 

Ye highlands and ye lowlands
Oh where hae you been?
Thou hae slay the Earl of Murray
And Lady Mondegreen

Wright eventually realized that Lady Mondegreen existed only her mind – the actual lyrics were "slay the Earl of Murray and laid him on the green." To this day Lady Mondegreen's name has been used to describe mishearings of this type.

Do you have a mondegreen example?  Here are some humorous ones I found scrolling around online:   
  • "There's a bathroom on the right."
    "There's a bad moon on the rise."
    Bad Moon Rising, Creedence Clearwater
  • "Excuse me while I kiss this guy."
    "Excuse me while I kiss the sky."
    Purple Haze, Jimi Hendrix
  • "Dead ants are my friends; they're blowin' in the wind."
    "The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind."
    Blowin' In The Wind, Bob Dylan
  • "Midnight after you're wasted."
    "Midnight at the oasis."
    Midnight at the Oasis, Maria Muldaur
  • "The girl with colitis goes by."
    "The girl with kaleidoscope eyes."
    Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, The Beatles
  • "You and me and Leslie."
    "You and me endlessly..."
    Groovin', The Rascals
  • "I'll be your xylophone waiting for you."
    "I'll be beside the phone waiting for you."
    Build Me Up Buttercup, The Foundations
  • "Are you going to starve an old friend?"
    "Are you going to Scarborough Fair?"
    Scarborough Fair, Simon and Garfunkel
  • "Baking carrot biscuits."
    "Taking care of business."
    Takin' Care Of Business, Bachman-Turner Overdrive
  • "What a nice surprise when you're out of ice."
    "What a nice surprise bring your alibis."
    Hotel California, Eagles
  • "Hope the city voted for you."
    "Hopelessly devoted to you."
    Hopelessly Devoted to You, Grease
  • "I'm a pool hall ace."
    "My poor heart aches."
    Every Step You Take, The Police
  • "Just brush my teeth before you leave me, baby."
    "Just touch my cheek before you leave me, baby."
    Angel of the Morning, Juice Newton
I, ahem, must admit that I always thought it was “You and me and Leslie . . .”  No lie!  But, I cannot imagine anyone thinking the lyrics are really “baking carrot biscuits” – “every day,” no less (some kind of bunny bakery?).  Seriously?  Who would think this?  I mean, if you would bake carrot biscuits, you may do it, perhaps once in your life.  Right?  Try some new recipe in the food section and then agree to go back to baking regular biscuits, like other members of normal society.  Or maybe not.  In any case, I have never baked carrot biscuits and likely will never bake carrot biscuits.  Nor will I sing about baking carrot biscuits.  So there.  Unless you and Leslie want them, that is.

1 comment:

  1. I actually think "Midnight after you're wasted" is a better line--I always hated that song. At least with the mondegreen lyric, it's a lot more interesting!