The following is the translation of the French definition of trompe-oreilles as it appears on the Wikipedia page:

A trompe-oreilles is a valid sentence that, when spoken out loud, gives the impression of being in a foreign language or having a different meaning.

Is there a similar concept in English? (Any examples?)

A rough example: "I fly to you" could be misinterpreted as "I've lied to you".

  • 3
    Mondegreen Jun 30, 2016 at 7:46
  • 3
    Did you look up trompe-oreilles in a bilingual dictionary?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jun 30, 2016 at 8:21
  • Yes, it wasn't in my Collins. And Google Translate gave me "horn earrings" which isn't the sense I'm after. I wondered if ear-twister might be a candidate. Jun 30, 2016 at 8:48

1 Answer 1



A sequence of words (for example, "ice cream") that sounds the same as a different sequence of words ("I scream").

The term oronym was coined by Gyles Brandreth in The Joy of Lex (1980).

From Wiktionary

noun 1. A word or phrase that sounds the same as another word or phrase.

From "Oronyms and Homophones" by Fun With Words,

Oronyms (or homophones) are words which sound the same.

Generally the word homophone is used to describe one of a pair or group of words that have the same sound (like prince and prints; allowed and aloud), whilst oronyms are normally strings of words (phrases) such as iced ink and I stink


In linguistics, an eggcorn is an idiosyncratic substitution of a word or phrase for a word or words that sound similar or identical in the speaker's dialect (sometimes called oronyms). The new phrase introduces a meaning that is different from the original, but plausible in the same context, such as "old-timers' disease" for "Alzheimer's disease".

See also: Mondegreen, from a comment by James McLeod


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