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Mondegreen

A mondegreen is the mishearing (usually accidental) of a phrase, such that it acquires a new meaning. The word is a mondegreen of "They hae slain the Earl o' Murray and laid him on the green", the last five words being misheard as "Lady Mondegreen". While a common occurrence for children, many adults have their own collection, particularly with regard to popular music.

Examples

  • Australians all are ostriches (from the opening line of the Australian national anthem - "Australians all let us rejoice")
  • Excuse me while I kiss this guy (from a lyric in the song "Purple Haze", by Jimi Hendrix - "Excuse me while I kiss the sky")
  • This guy is cryin (from a lyric in the song "The Sky is Crying", by Stevie Ray Vaughan)
  • The girl with colitis goes by (from a lyric in the song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", by The Beatles - "The girl with kaleidoscope eyes.")

Some mondegreens arise from false friends. A phrase in one language may be misheard as a semi-sensical phrase in another language. The humorous aspect of these has given rise to a music video genre known as animutation[?].

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