Not long ago I learned a new word: “mondegreen,” from Throw Grammar from the Train . A “mondegreen” is a misinterpretation, most often of song lyrics, by a listener. The word comes from author Sylvia Wright who heard the words “Lady Mondegreen” in a Scottish ballad. She thought they sang:
- Ye highlands and ye lowlands Oh where hae you been? Thou hae slay the Earl of Murray And Lady Mondegreen.
In fact, the lyrics were meant to be
- Ye highlands and ye lowlands Oh where hae you been? Thou hae slay the Earl of Murray And laid him on the green
My sister used to sing some interesting words for traditional songs that were in our piano books, similar to this…
- You have lost your gum forever, dreadful sorry, Clementine. [Actual lyric: You are lost and gone forever, dreadful sorry, Clementine.]
On a road trip years ago, we stopped for gas in Abbotsford. Ever since, Younger Daughter refers to the town as Rabbitsfart.
According to the website Fun With Words , “oronyms” are phrases that sound the same but have different words and meanings. For example:
The stuffy nose = the stuff he knows
Gladly, the cross-eyed bear = “Gladly The Cross I’d Bear.”