Wednesday 3 April 2013


Angry pizza man has a blue cape
(Image courtesy of Darby)

Mondegreen is a word that I first heard whilst watching a documentary about Ian Rankin, who was writing his next Rebus novel at the time. Rankin is rather a connoisseur of obscure words. For example, check out rebus.

I love the word mondegreen. It's a word I didn't realise I needed all my life until I heard it. Meaning:

The mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase as a result of near-homophony, in a way that gives it a new meaning.

For instance,  whenever I listen to Mika's Any Other World, I am absolutely convinced that it's all in the hands of a bitter pizza man.

1 comment:

  1. The one people know from CoE Church, is "Gladly, the cross-eyed Bear". And in "Bonny Dundee" there is "Come, Phillip McCup, come, Phillip McCann...". There used to be a song in the U.S. called "Louie, Louie", which is virtually all mondegreens. See Wikipedia: "In February 1964, an outraged parent wrote to Robert Kennedy, then the Attorney General of the United States, alleging that the lyrics of "Louie Louie" were obscene. The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the complaint. In June 1965, the FBI laboratory obtained a copy of the Kingsmen recording and, after two years of investigation, concluded that the recording could not be interpreted, that it was "unintelligible at any speed,"[34] and therefore the Bureau could not find that the recording was obscene.[2] In September 1965, an FBI agent interviewed one member of the Kingsmen, who denied that there was any obscenity in the song.[2][35]
    The lyrics controversy resurfaced briefly in 2005 when the superintendent of the school system in Benton Harbor, Michigan, refused to let the marching band at one of the schools play the song in a parade. She later relented.[36][37]
    A history of the song and its notoriety was written by Dave Marsh.[38]"