Friday, February 20, 2009

Today's Secret Word: Mondegreen

So you're out at Rock Star Karaoke. This dude is rockin' it hard. The whole crowd is cheering him on. He's got his Scott Weiland to such perfection he could steal STP's '93 Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance for "Plush."

"Where ya going for tomorrow?" he sings.

And you feeeeeel it. And you feeeel it. And he does too. This is his jam. He looks away from the words and sings from memory:

"Where you going with the master plan?"

Part of the crowd is still feeling it. They're hoping he'll do "Vaseline" next and show off his German dance moves.

The rest of the crowd knows better. The actual line is:

"Where ya going with that mask I found?"

The word for misunderstanding a phrase is "mondegreen." In the nineties, when mumbling reigned on high thanks to alternative and grunge music, it was pretty easy to misinterpret lyrics. The word "mondegreen" was actually coined a few decades before that, though. According to, the word comes from mishearing "laid him on the green" for "Lady Mondegreen" in a line from a Scottish ballad.

There are actually whole websites devoted to listing out commonly misheard song lyrics, including this one, which points out goofs on Christian lyrics.

"Mondegreen." Aaaaahhhh!

1 comment:

Keith said...

My favorite mondegreen is from "Kokomo" (Beach Boys):

To Martinique, that Monserrat mystique

misheard as

Vermont’s unique, Vermont’s a rotten state

I have a friend, Mandy Green, whose name is a mondegreen of "mondegreen.” She wrote a kids' book, "Gazoon High Twizzle," about a mondegreen of "gesundheit whistle," which means whistling after a sneeze. See it in animation at