Mishearing postings

postings on AZBlog on mishearings, focusing on one-time mishearings that are (eventually) recognized as such by the hearer; those from AMZ are marked with an asterisk.

When they involve titles (especially song titles) or other fixed or formulaic expressions, especially when several people independently mishear in the same way, mishearings are likely to be labeled mondegreens. Deliberate mondegreening also occurs as a type of language play.

Mishearings and malapropisms (including eggcorns) overlap; a particular example might be a mishearing, an eggcornish reshaping, or such a reshaping arising from a mishearing.


2/15/09: What was she singing?:
What did Geeshie Wiley sing?

9/12/09: The ants are my friends:
book: The Ants Are My Friends: Misheard Lyrics, Malapropisms, Eggcorns, and Other Linguistic Gaffes

11/1/10: Lady Chow Mein:
[a Zippy] a style of nonsense verse that takes some familiar verse and subjects it to massive intentional mondegreening. I don’t know if there’s an established name for the genre. The nonsense can be remarkably sticky. I have the text of “Boston Charlie” so firmly in my head that it takes me a little while to recover the correct words. “Lady chow mein” might yet displace “Lady of Spain” as a goofy accordion classic.

12/22/10: Mondegreens:
Beauty celestial / The bestial agree for Beauty celestial / The best you’ll / Agree
[on mondegreens:] Before you write in with your favorites, let me remind you that there are many published and on-line collections of the things, and of course a Wikipedia entry. Mondegreen is in OED3 (2002), with nice quotes from Bill Safire and Steve Pinker.

*2/9/11: Annals of mishearing:
SAID Portuguese Cork Association HEARD Portuguese Pork Association [AMZ]

2/13/11: Reptile dysfunction:
child expression reptile dysfunction for erectile dysfunction: mishearing? eggcorn?

3/29/11: Low vowels:
SAID chopsticks HEARD ChapSticks [NYT story]

*5/31/11: Today’s signal mishearing:
SAID uncensored chatrooms HEARD uncensored chaplains [AMZ]

7/6/11: Mishearing:
SAID highly trained Navy SEALs HEARD highly trained baby seals [reported in NYT]

11/25/11: Childegreens:
child mondegreen: Eeyore Stravinsky for Igor Stravinsky; plus Olive, the other reindeer (all of the other reindeer)

12/20/11: Wossamotta U.:
Rocky and Bullwinkle’s Wossamotto U., a mondegreen of “what’s the matter [with] you”

3/26/12: Annals of mishearing:
SAID more coquettishly HEARD more cokeheadishly [stage directions, on Facebook]

5/28/12: Kiss this guy etc.:
SAID black eye HEARD black guy [report in NYT]

5/30/12: Annals of mishearing:
SAID this guy is falling HEARD the sky is falling [cartoon]

5/31/12: sum / summon:
on sum up the courage for summon up the courage: eggcorn or lexical confusion, probably not mishearing

6/10/12: Gopher tuna!:
mondegreened version of “O Fortuna” from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana

6/24/12: On the eggcorn beat:
on here in there for here and there: eggcorn? mishearing? eggcorn based on mishearing?

7/15/12: Cow saws and mondegreens:
on mondegreens, including the new fanute the coupe (from the hoopty coupe)

*8/22/12: Garden variety mishearing:
SAID lobster and shrimp tacos HEARD lobster and shrimp compost [AMZ]

10/17/12: Gypsum weed etc.:
SAID Jimson weed HEARD gypsum weed, gypsy weed [various sources]: eggcorn based on mishearing?

*10/26/12: Please remove your cats:
SAID take off your caps HEARD take off your cats [AMZ]

*10/28/12: Odds and ends:
SAID Edible Arrangements HEARD Oedipal arrangements [AMZ]

*12/16/12: The gay underwear anthem:
SAID Groovy Underwear HEARD Bluesy Underwear [AMZ]

1/30/13: concordance ‘example, occurrence’:
concordance ‘example, occurrence’: mishearing of occurrence? classical malapropism? or what?

2/23/13: Mondegreen stuff:
https://arnoldzwicky.org/2013/02/23/mondegreen-stuff/ [mondegreens]
SAID the girl with kaleidoscope eyes HEARD the girl with colitis goes by
SAID somehow we’ll grow as rich as Midas HEARD some Harvard boy as rich as Midas

3/13/13: perils of wisdom:
SAID pearls of wisdom HEARD perils of wisdom [several reports; mishearing, eggcorn, or what?]

3/17/12: One Big Happy roundup:
https://arnoldzwicky.org/2013/03/17/one-big-happy-roundup/ [OBH comics]
SAID Oil of Olay HEARD Oil of Ol’ Lady
SAID Grey Poupon HEARD Grape Poopawn

4/8/13: Correction time:
SAID include pop staples HEARD include Pops Staples [reported by NYT]
SAID the Segal statue HEARD the seagull statue [in Stanford Daily, reported by AMZ]

4/9/13: An unfortunate mishearing:
SAID whole wide world HEARD hole white world [child]

*5/28/13: On the mistakes patrol:
SAID she has for years HEARD she has four ears [AMZ]
SAID Bayer Back and Body HEARD Bare Back and Body [AMZ]

9/12/13: Ruthie v. English:
mondegreened version of the marriage vows [OBH comic]

8/18/14: Ruthie (mis)interprets:
SAID arson HEARD our son [OBH comic]
chain of mishearings in Gilligan’s Island theme [OBH comic]

*11/22/14: Musical mishearing:
SAID Sleeping Beauty Suite HEARD Sweeping Beauty Suite [AMZ]

11/27/14: Ask AMZ: two queries:
SAID trick or treat HEARD trickle treat [various sources]

*5/26/15: Odds and ends 5/26/15:
SAID Canadian seal hunt HEARD comedian seal hunt [AMZ]
SAID finished raising my baby HEARD finished raping my baby [AMZ]

6/7/15: Mishearings:
Oliver Sacks on mishearings

6/8/15: paracuses?:
terminology for mishearings

10/27/15: Pop-Tart blasphemy:
peanut misheard as penis

10/30/15: peanut(s), penis, and Cracker Jack:
peanuts misheard as penis

11/19/15: In brief: phonological word:
a manual brush misheard as Emanuel Brush

12/5/15: Tchaikovsky’s Polish Symphony:
heard: “the only symphony to be written in a major key”

2/18/16: Hoist a pint to the mondegreen:
4 mondegreens on beer glasses

3/3/16: Ruthie and word division:
mishearing in One Big Happy

4/13/16: Reciting formulas:
mishearing rotely recited words in One Big Happy

1/2/17: Two poems:
famous Hendrix mondegreen

11/8/17: The great Anatomic War:
an atomic heard as anatomic

11/15/17: 3 for 15:
[in cartoon] SAID hair remover HEARD hairy mover

2/8/18: The Star-Spangled Baseball:
cartoon mondegreening of “The Star-Spangled Banner”

3/25/18: this guy:
the sky’s heard as this guy’s

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