"for all intensive purposes": mondegreen, eggcorn

  • sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Yes, indeed, although I'll have to admit that it's a new term to me ... but then it wasn't even admitted to even the normally expansive Merriam-Webster dictionary until 2008, according to this column. (Nor have I found it elsewhere, but I'm too cheap thrifty to keep the latest dictionaries on hand).

    Perhaps mondegreen should be submitted to the Dictionary Additions forum here (if it hasn't been submitted already)

    And as long as I'm running off at the keyboard, I'll mention that I had an uncle who once confused the lyrics of a song ("I'm a dreamer, aren't we all?) to "I'm a dreamer Montreal."
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    We don't have mondegreen in our dictionary, but the two dictionaries we link to do:Their definitions do not restrict the use to lyrics, and include a shortened version of the origin that is explained more fully in the link above:
    mondegreennoun a word or phrase resulting from a misinterpretation of a word or phrase that has been heard.

    Origin:
    1954; coined by Sylvia Wright, U.S. writer, from the line laid him on the green, interpreted as Lady Mondegreen, in a Scottish ballad.​
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    from the line laid him on the green, interpreted as Lady Mondegreen,
    What a wonderful word, especially as I know the song.
    Now I have a name for the classic "lend me three and fourpence, we're going to a dance".
     
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    Bevj

    Allegra Moderata (Sp/Eng, Cat)
    English (U.K.)
    I'd never heard of a mondegreen either.
    Is it the same thing as a Malapropism, or is there a subtle difference?
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I believe a malapropism is a nonsense phrase produced my muddling two or more words. These phrases make sense and sound similar to the original words but have a different meaning.

    Not to confuse the issue further, but how is a mondegreen different from an eggcorn?
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I believe a malapropism is a nonsense phrase produced my muddling two or more words. These phrases make sense and sound similar to the original words but have a different meaning.

    Not to confuse the issue further, but how is a mondegreen different from an eggcorn?
    I think they're the same, James:). (I learnt eggcorn in the forums, too;).)
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I believe a malapropism is a nonsense phrase produced by muddling two or more words. These phrases make sense and sound similar to the original words but have a different meaning.

    Not to confuse the issue further, but how is a mondegreen different from an eggcorn?

    A malapropism, from the character Mrs. Malaprop in Richard Sheridan's 1775 play The Rivals, is the confusion of one word with another that's vaguely similar. One such uttered by the character in the play is "as headstrong as an allegory on the banks of the Nile". (The right word, of course, would be "alligator".)

    An eggcorn (the term is of recent coinage by an American linguist) is more like a malapropism than like a mondegreen--which is, as previously explained, a misinterpretation of something wrongly heard. For a full discussion, see:
    http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-egg3.htm
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Parla, I see that your "eggcorns" link contains the following:
    They are also not malapropisms, although they do share some characteristics with them, because in a true malapropism the correct word is replaced by one with no more than a glancing similarity (allegory for alligator or oracular for vernacular). They are not mishearings of song lyrics so can’t be called mondegreens.
    Which implies that you and I are both wrong:(.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    That page has the note: Page created 21 Apr. 2007. The definition may have become more inclusive since then. In any case, dictionaries are divided on the issue. It seems to me that at least half of them offer an inclusive definition, like the one in the OED:
    mondegreen, n. A misunderstood or misinterpreted word or phrase resulting from a mishearing, esp. of the lyrics to a song.
    I include the OED's most recent citation because I find it interesting:
    1994 S. PINKER Lang. Instinct vi. 186 The interesting thing about mondegreens is that the mis-hearings are generally less plausible than the intended lyrics.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    The essential quality of a mondegreen is that it is a mis-hearing. Many mondegreens lie dormant for years.

    The essential quality of a malapropism is that it is a mis-speaking.
    It may, or may not, be based on a mis-hearing.

    I know nothing about eggcorns :)
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Parla, I see that your "eggcorns" link contains the following:

    "They are also not malapropisms, although they do share some characteristics with them, because in a true malapropism the correct word is replaced by one with no more than a glancing similarity (allegory for alligator or oracular for vernacular). They are not mishearings of song lyrics so can’t be called mondegreens."

    Which implies that you and I are both wrong:(.

    Not sure what you mean, Loob--that modegreens have to involve song lyrics?

    That's apparently Michael Quinion's opinion (he's the WorldWideWords guy), but at least some dictionaries, including the OED, say differently--that it's especially (but not always) lyrics that constitute the source.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Not sure what you mean, Loob--that modegreens have to involve song lyrics?

    That's apparently Michael Quinion's opinion (he's the WorldWideWords guy), but at least some dictionaries, including the OED, say differently--that it's especially (but not always) lyrics that constitute the source.
    My point was that Michael Quinion says that eggcorns are neither malapropisms nor mondegreens. Which would make your statement in post 16 wrong as well as my statement in post 13....

    Personally, I agree with the wider definitions of mondegreen. I think panj hit the nail on the head in post 19 as regards the essential difference between mondegreens (& eggcorns;)) and malapropisms.
     
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