|Definition - Incorrectly hearing a word or a phrase and then reinterpreting it as being something else. For example, for many years I believed that Jimi Hendrix was gay because I thought the line in Purple Haze was: "Scuse me, while I kiss this guy."|
Etymology - The term was coined by the American writer Sylvia Wright in her 1954 essay The Death of Lady Mondegreen (Harper's Magazine, November 1954).
Note: According to Wright, she chose the term because when she was a child, her mother used to read the ballad The Bonnie Earl O' Murray to her, wherein one particular passage Wright interpreted as follows:
"Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands,
Oh, where hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl Amurray,
And Lady Mondegreen
The actual fourth line is "And laid him on the green."
Oxford English Dictionary - There is no OED entry for this term.