I remember having come across a particular word long ago. This word means a part of lyric that has been remembered wrongly, i.e., a section of lyric that has entered one's memory with the words mangled up in some way (Spoonerism, for example). The word remembered could be differing from the original word in a facetious way.

Does anyone know of this word?

  • I can certainly think of occasions where the artist quite simply did not sing the official lyric. Not to mention occasions where the official lyric is clearly less poetic than what I hear. :) – Karl Knechtel Mar 17 '12 at 17:13
  • Gimme fried chicken! – Optimal Cynic Mar 17 '12 at 19:31
  • This issue has actually come up before on ELU, and mondegreen was given in the top answer. But that other one was closed because it didn't quite ask the question the right way. – FumbleFingers Mar 17 '12 at 22:28

It's called a mondegreen, such as scuse me while I kiss this guy or there's a bathroom on the right:

1 A mondegreen is the mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase as a result of near homophony, in a way that gives it a new meaning. It most commonly is applied to a line in a poem or a lyric in a song. American writer Sylvia Wright coined the term in her essay "The Death of Lady Mondegreen," published in Harper's Magazine in November 1954.

2 [Jimi Hendrix, Purple Haze] A common misheard lyric in the song is "excuse me while I kiss this guy". The actual line is "excuse me while I kiss the sky". In fact, it has even been documented that Jimi Hendrix himself perpetrated this mondegreen by actually using it as a joke while singing "Purple Haze" live in concert, particularly at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. In Cheech & Chong's film Nice Dreams, the line is parodied as "excuse me while I kiss this fly".

3 [Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bad Moon Rising] The refrain in the chorus, "there's a bad moon on the rise", is commonly misheard as "there's a bathroom on the right". Fogerty has parodied the mishearing in live performances of the song.

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  • 1
    Pop culture refers to these as "misheard lyrics." Cool to learn there's a more proper name for them. I'm going to have to share this word with my friend, Reverend Bluejeans. – J.R. Mar 17 '12 at 17:02
  • Awesome @cornbread ninja! You have got it almost instantaneously I believe. Thanks. – Bravo Mar 17 '12 at 20:13

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