One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A misunderstood or misinterpreted word or phrase resulting from a mishearing of the lyrics of a song.
- ‘So I listened to it several times, wondering if my perception of it might be a mondegreen.’
- ‘Of course, you want to make sure that you don't become the victim of a mondegreen: that's a misheard lyric to you and me.’
- ‘It's not a mondegreen because the mis-construal is not part of a song or poem or similar performance.’
1950s: from Lady Mondegreen, a misinterpretation of the phrase laid him on the green, from the traditional ballad ‘The Bonny Earl of Murray’.
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