Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Did I Hear You Correctly?

Mondegreen \MON-di-green\, noun:

A word or phrase resulting from a misinterpretation of a word or phrase that has been heard.

Timing can be a funny thing ... last week, I wrote about me and a friend misinterpreting the question, "How was the hike up?" for "How was the vodka?"

Mere days following that post, Dictionary.com sent MONDEGREEN as their Word of the Day.

So, as it turns out, "How was the vodka?" is a mondegreen. Did you already know of that word? Please ... be nice, and tell me you didn't.

I suspect mondegreens abound in the world of song lyrics. My personal favorite hails from a time before I could read. I had memorized many of the songs we sang regularly in church. There was one song, in particular, that included a phrase that stumped me every time we sang it. Nonetheless, I sang the words with all the confidence and vocal power I could muster, "P for Pine-sol, the highest good."

I remember being uncertain as to why we were singing about a cleaning product and how the church had picked Pine-sol as the best one. If I remember correctly, I even consulted with a dear friend. She agreed with the words, but didn't understand them either.

When I learned to read and decided to double-check the actual words ... imagine my surprise in learning that the phrase I had been singing, so often, as "P for Pine-sol, the highest good" was actually, "Be for my soul, the highest good." Ahhhh ... that made much more sense.

Think back ... do you have a favorite, funny mondegreen?


lisa and laura said...

Hee, hee--I like your friend agreeing with you about the Pine-Sol. So cute.

Kelly Polark said...

When I was younger, I totally got the chorus of Blinded By the Light wrong!
Here's a link to more funny song mistakes:

I know there are other songs I messed up!

MG Higgins said...

Oh, yes, so many. I can't think of any right now. I'm sure I will in the middle of the night. Then I'll shout, "Golly, that was a mondegreen!"

Hilary said...

Yup, I have known about Mondegreens for a long time. Did you know how that name came about? It was misheard lyrics from a song. They were understood as:They have slain the Earl O'Murray
and Lady Mondegreen.
when in fact they were They hae slain the Earl O'Murray and laid him on the green.

A friend of mine used to sing "Bald-headed woman" for the BeeGees "More than a woman" but my favourite was "Baking Carrot Biscuits.. every day!" You know.. that Bachman Turner Overdrive song... ;)

(Taking Care of Business)

Tess said...

this is a new word for me .. very cool to learn something :D

And, I twist up song lyrics all the time... I'm always amazed when I learn the REAL lyric. But, when I was little I sang Silent Night, "Sleep in heavenly peas". It was a cute image in my mind.. a little baby Jesus in a pea pod.

LadyFi said...

What a wonderful mondegreen! My favourite one is my son who sings, "Doodley-daze again!"

Yes - that's his interpretation of Michael Jackson singing, "My lonely days are gone!"

Rebecca Ramsey said...

I LOVE that word! And no, I'd never heard it.
If you like mondegreens, you'd love the game Mad Gab. My youngest got it for Christmas and it's really fun.

Yat-Yee said...

Cute. The one that I remember from my kid days was singing, "and you come to me on a submarine, keep me warm in your love..." in Bee Gees' How Deep Is Your Love. (summer breeze)

My daughter sings, "I keep keep breathing" instead of "bleeding" in that pop song I don't remember. I didn't bother correcting her.

Keri Mikulski said...

Love it. :)

Susan R. Mills said...

Ha! P is for Pine-Sol. I love it.

Suzanne Casamento said...

In middle school, my friend, Kate, always mixed up song lyrics. She thought "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go" was "Wake Me Up in Nova Scotia." She confused "Oh What a Feelin' When We're Dancin' on the Ceiling" for "Oh What a Feelin' When We're Dancing in New Zealand." And my fave was the Go-Go's "Our Lips Are Sealed." She thought it was a song about a girl named "Honest Cecile."


Sarah Laurence said...

I love that word – how perfect! That’s a funny story about Pine-Sol. I'm sure I've made similar mistakes.

lime said...

oh now that is just too cute! pine-sol, the cleaner of the devout.

i'd have to say i made the same mistake kelly did ;)

thanks for stopping by my place from POTW. :)

Clementine said...

You made my day - That is hilarious!

PJ Hoover said...

I did not know the word! But these are hilarious when you hear them!

Anonymous said...

Oh my word Kelly! This is why I love reading your blog. Your topics always seem to personal to me!!

My husband and I talk about this all the time. How we thing a lyric in a song is something and it turns out to be something totally different.

I read Hilary's comment! What a hoot!

Thanks for making me chuckle! Love this topic!

Cathy C. Hall said...

Blinded by the light, wrapped up like a douche in the quarter of the night.

You CANNOT tell me that those aren't the real words. I'm pretty sure those guys changed the words later...

My youngest used to sing, "Bluuuue awning!" Until we finally told him it was "Whooooo are you?" (by The Who) But we didn't tell him till last year. (He's 18.)

And Kelly, I'll happily tell you I did not know the word Mondegreen. But it's my very favorite new word now.

Unspoken said...

I don't have one now, but when it comes to songs I sure have.

Kelly H-Y said...

Oh, how I love all your hilarious comments! Thank you for stopping by!!! :-)

imbeingheldhostage said...

You cracked me up on this one-- what a funny interpretation of that song!

kanishk said...

, I totally got the chorus of Blinded By the Light wrong!
Here's a link to more funny song
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