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Feb 22, 2013
This week's theme
Words for linguistic errors

This week's words
spoonerism
malapropism
Freudian slip
eggcorn
mondegreen

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Next week's theme
Words made with combining forms
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

mondegreen

PRONUNCIATION:
(MON-di-green)

MEANING:
noun: A word or phrase resulting from mishearing a word or phrase, especially in song lyrics. For example:
"The girl with colitis goes by" for "The girl with kaleidoscope eyes" in the Beatles song "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds".

ETYMOLOGY:
Coined by author Sylvia Wright when she misinterpreted the line "laid him on the green" as "Lady Mondegreen" in the Scottish ballad "The Bonny Earl of Murray". Earliest documented use: 1954.

USAGE:
"Since I live in Thailand, the most meaningful mondegreen for me was my own mishearing of a line from The Jam's Eton Rifles. Instead of the correct 'What chance do you have against a tie and a crest?', for years I heard 'What chance do you have against a Thai in a dress?'"
Richard Watson Todd; Much Ado about English; Nicholas Brealey Publishing; May 1, 2007.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
We should not write so that it is possible for the reader to understand us, but so that it is impossible for him to misunderstand us. -Quintilian (Marcus Fabius Quintilianus), rhetorician (c. 35-100)

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