Have you ever found yourself singing the wrong lyrics to a song? Well, the reason for your confusion is called “mondegreen”. What? Yes.

“Mondegreen” is “the mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase as a result of near homophony” (if you want to know the full story, go to the very end of this post).

DirectLyrics.com have created a nice infographic with a list of the most commonly misunderstood lyrics below. Enjoy!

The term “mondegreen” was coined by the american writer Sylvia Wright. In her essay, Wright described how, as a young girl, she misheard the last line of the first stanza from the 17th-century ballad ”The Bonny Earl O’Moray”. She wrote:

When I was a child, my mother used to read to me from Percy’s Reliques, and one of my favorite poems began, as I remember:

Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands,
Oh, where hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl O’ Moray,
And Lady Mondegreen.

The actual fourth line is “And laid him on the green”. Here is how Wright explained the need for a new term:

The point about what I shall hereafter call mondegreens, since no one else has thought up a word for them, is that they are better than the original”.

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