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Mondegreens Abound! The Best And Most Often Misquoted Song Lyrics




"Mondegreen" is the term used to describe a wildly mispronounced song lyric.
Flickr/Derek Gavey

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It’s happened to many of us -- that sinking feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you’ve been singing a song a certain way for years and someone informs you that you’ve been butchering the lyrics the whole time.

As it happens, there’s actually a word for this phenomenon -- it’s called a mondegreen. The term was coined in 1954 by American author Sylvia Wright in an essay for Harper’s in which she recalled a lyric from a Scottish ballad, “laid him on the green,” that she heard as “Lady Mondegreen” as a child. Today, Merriam-Webster defines it as “a word or phrase that results from a mishearing of something said or sung.”

Is there a song that you misheard or misquoted for years only to be told that you were misquoting it? What song was it, what was the lyric you thought you heard, and what was the actual lyric?