Have you ever found yourself singing the wrong lyrics to a song? Well, the reason for your confusion is called “mondegreen”. What? Yes.
“Mondegreen” is “the mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase as a result of near homophony” (if you want to know the full story, go to the very end of this post).
DirectLyrics.com have created a nice infographic with a list of the most commonly misunderstood lyrics below. Enjoy!
The term “mondegreen” was coined by the american writer Sylvia Wright. In her essay, Wright described how, as a young girl, she misheard the last line of the first stanza from the 17th-century ballad ”The Bonny Earl O’Moray”. She wrote:
When I was a child, my mother used to read to me from Percy’s Reliques, and one of my favorite poems began, as I remember:
- Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands,
- Oh, where hae ye been?
- They hae slain the Earl O’ Moray,
- And Lady Mondegreen.
The actual fourth line is “And laid him on the green”. Here is how Wright explained the need for a new term:
“The point about what I shall hereafter call mondegreens, since no one else has thought up a word for them, is that they are better than the original”.