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AWADmail Issue 556 Extra

A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Tidbits about Words and Language

This is continuation of the compilation of readers' responses to the week of words about linguistic errors. See others at AWADmail 556.


A friend and I used to produce spoonerisms deliberately with the hope that good ones would surface. One that comes to mind is, "I'm going to shake a tower."
-Julie Neilson, Portland, Oregon (neilson.ja gmail.com)

I was reading a book on humour by Charles Gruner (The Game of Humour: A Comprehensive Theory of Why We Laugh, 1997) where I came across a joke based on spoonerism.
"In 1961, Aristotle Onasis, the Greek shipping Tycoon, was shopping for a house to buy in the Los Angeles area. One house he visited was of the late silent screen star, Buster Keaton. While Mr. Onasis stood in the courtyard gazing at the back of the mansion, his photographer, who accompanied Mr. Onasis everywhere and chronicled his travels, took a picture of his boss, with the house in the background. He entitled the picture, Aristotle Contemplating the Home of Buster The author goes on explaining that 'the joke met with mystified silence; the audience had never heard of the famous Rembrandt painting Aristotle Contemplating the Bust of Homer, on which the joke was a reverse pun' (Gruner, 1997:80).
-Elena Buja, Brasov, Romania (elena_buja yahoo.com)

Yesterday, I heard a woman mention "stacker's morey" instead of "Macca's story". She was referring to Ian (Macca) Macnamara, host of our popular Sunday morning radio show, Australia All Over. For details, see here.
-Eric Shackle, Sydney, Australia (ericshackle bigpond.com)

A pianist was playing at a function in a private home and really needed a bathroom break. One of the guests asked him about the piece he had just played and instead of replying "this is a very difficult piece to play", he said, "This is a very difficult place to pee."
-Anne Lusby, Brockville, Canada (alusby sympatico.ca)

I have always been enamored of spoonerisms, ever since my father told me years ago that a fragile package should be marked CANDLE WITH HAIR. Such nonsense cried out to be appropriately illustrated, so I've posted a collection of spoonerism cartoons on my blog. They really tickle my bunny phone!

-Richard Cole, Santa Maria, California (rilico aol.com)
One common UK spoonerism is for parents 'Dum(b) and Mad' instead of Mum and Dad. In my wife's case this didn't work. After being widowed my wife's mother remarried, and her husband was always called by his name, rather than 'Dad'. Then I worked out that this also worked as a spoonerism: 'Mum and Dennis'.
-Mike Parmley, Chesterfield, UK (mike parmley.plus.com)

My mother used the deliberate spoonerism "thud and blunder" (from "blood and thunder") to describe music that displeased.
-Ruth Rains, Champaign, Illinois (r4rains att.net)

I have a friend who was recently widowed and very nervous about having to give the speech, at her daughter's wedding, in lieu of her late husband. She completed the task beautifully, without too many tears, but when it came to the point of proposing the toast to the bride and groom... Her lovely daughter Judy had just married a fine young man Bruce -- which came out as a resounding -- "To Juice and Broody". We all collapsed in rather hysterical tears!
-Alison Janette Emmerson, Wentworth Falls, Australia (janette21 tpg.com.au)

My all-time favorite: From a breathlessly excited radio broadcaster announcing the disembarking of the Royal Windsors in New York, "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Duck and Doochess of Windsor!"
-Paul Wessen, San Jose, Costa Rica (pwessen ice.co.cr)

One University of Washington English Professor in particular was a common creator of spoonerisms. He once said he taught a class on Cake and Bleats (Blake and Keats). He was known to take a fresh of breath air. His best occurred in a Shakespeare class after a rousing argument of what the bard meant. He brought the class together by saying, "Well, class, let's let Speakspeare shake for himself." It took a while for the class to stop laughing.
-Lee Anne Bowie, Seattle, Washington (bowie.la gmail.com)

A colleague who taught American Literature told me that for years he dreaded introducing Huckleberry Finn for fear he would spoonerize the title. Sure enough, one day he did.
-Robert Stanton, Seattle, Washington (rstanton u.washington.edu)

This brought immediately to my mind my eighth standard classmate spoonerizing the title, 'Puck and the Fairy', of an extract from Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer's Night Dream', when he was asked to recite it to the class. Nervous adolescent laughter followed, in which the teacher very sportingly joined in.
-N. Gautham, Chennai, India (n_gautham hotmail.com)

When I first moved to the small (then) town of Sumner, WA before the time of digital catalogues in libraries, I enquired about a book called Old Forts of the Far West (Herbert M Hart) and, of course, spoonered those two "F" words. The kindly little old lady at the desk issued me a library card anyway and found me the book.
-bassorbase, Sumner, Washington (via Wordsmith Talk online forum)

I love spoonerisms and my brother does it all the time. He said my cat comes and goes through a flat cap and goes to the vet's in a bat casket!
-Jenny Hakney, Bradford, UK (jenny.hakney bradford.gov.uk)

As a trainee surgeon, I had an occasion to enquire about the nature of his job to a man who had a hand injury. Unfortunately, he succumbed to a spoonerism when he meant to say he was a "pheasant plucker".
-Shivaram Bharathwaj, Chennai, India (surgeonshiva gmail.com)

We knew it was time to go home from the party when we spoonerized our order for "Freddy Fudpuckers". (That was back in the early, devil-may-care days of my youth in the 1980s.)
-Vicki Fricano, Fremont, California (fricanov embarqmail.com)

A couple of years ago, syndicated crossword puzzle constructionist, Merl Reagle, devised one of his Sunday puzzles to contain eight spoonerisms as answers. Among the most memorable: "HANG YOUR BED AGAINST THE WALL" (clue: Murphy's brainstorm); "BUNNY PHONE" (clue: Easter egg hotline); "STOCKY HICKS" (clue: Heavyset hayseeds?) and "I COULD BITE A ROOK" (clue: Frustrated chess player's cry?).
-Ken Kirste, Sunnyvale, California (kkkirste sbcglobal.net)

Working as an English teacher for adults in southern Germany, it is only through you and the cryptic crosswords from a couple of English newspapers every day that I manage to maintain a semblance of my native language at a more than dumbed-down level (thank heavens for the Internet). It was therefore interesting to see today's word which is a nice intersection of the two. Spoonerisms are a favourite tool in the cryptic crossword setter's repertoire, and though purists groan when they see them (and many are groan-worthy), I believe they add depth and humour to the puzzle. You will no doubt be inundated with many examples but here are two from last week.
Spooner's to kill writer and collect $200! (4,2) Pass go. (from gas Poe)
Bread - spy end of loaf for Spooner. (9). Wholemeal. (from mole heel)
-Jacqueline Merz, Germany (hajavi t-online.de)

I was dining with my girlfriend and her family in the early 1970s. The family included her three intellectual brothers. She was always in competition with them, trying to show that she had a brain, herself. One of the brothers was going on about this and that, and he inadvertently made a spoonerism. My girlfriend, eager to show that she recognized his blunder, blurted out proudly, "A Roonerspism!" After the laughter, the discussion turned to whether she had created a double, reverse, negative, additive, subtractive, or even an anti-spoonerism.
-Steve Juve, Clarkston, Washington (bonzzo cableone.net)

The best use of spoonerisms occurred in the British parliament. The speaker of one party complimented one of the other saying "I yield to the gentleman as a 'shining wit'." And then apologized for making a spoonerism.
-Martin Litke, MD, Newport Beach, California (litke.martin gmail.com)

When I was young, my grandfather always called me a smart feller if I said something clever.
-Ricky (via Wordsmith Talk online forum)

My dad Dennis was a typesetter (on a linotype) and worked in the newspaper industry for over 40 years. He loved wordplay, especially spoonerisms. His favourite: Spoonerising the name of the "Dr. No" actress, Ursula Andress.
-Alan Kennedy, Dublin, Ireland (wordsmith alan.kennedy.name)

The eminent professor, Larzer Ziff, once addressed a poetry class this way: "Today we're going to talk about piss and stretch...I mean stretch and pitch...damn, I mean pitch and stress."
-Bob Clawson (robertjclawson gmail.com)

My brain must have 'gone walkabout' when I came out with this one. I said, "My 'two-piece knee shirt', meaning 'My Snoopy t-shirt'."
-Karen Clulow, Fremantle, Australia (karenclulow tadaust.org.au)

When I was a student in dental school, we had a daylong seminar on thumb sucking. Several of the speakers had slips of the tongue and said "sum thucking" instead. When I rose to speak I said: "Isn't it good that today's seminar was not called Finger Sucking?"
-David Newman, New York, New York (davidsnewman gmail.com)

Try to solve these clues to words or phrases which can be turned into other words or phrases by using spoonerisms.
Example: Change a comfortable corner into an inquisitive chef. Answer: cosy nook - nosy cook.
1. Change impolite behaviour into insane pieces of cloth bearing slogans.
2. Change a stringed instrument into a noisy puppy.
3. Change a French writer into a decorative part of a wall.
Answer: 1. bad manners - mad banners. 2. Welsh harp - harsh whelp. 3. Daudet - dado.
-Tony Augarde (Author: Wordplay), Oxfordshire, UK (diddlums gmail.com)

The same word-play existed in French hundreds of years before, apparently invented by François Rabelais in 1532 with his Pantagruel. Other well-known-in-English authors also used them: D'Estienne Tabourot (1547-1590) and Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850).
-J. Michael Keating, Villereau, France (jmk2009 free.fr)

A recent review of a local production of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), a wild, bawdy ride through the entire oeuvre in 97 minutes, described it as "no bards wholed".
-Eric Marchbein, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (emarch333 verizon.net)

I do flannel chipping watching TV.
-Ellen Brady, Peninsula, Ohio (jerseygirleb789 gmail.com)

While serving as a disc jockey on the local radio station during my high school career I read an ad for IDEAL BREAD. The line was supposed to be, "To find the Best in Bread, just look for the IDEAL sign." I leave the spoonerism to your imagination. I soon found out the definition of spoonerism.
-Ben Fulbright, Houston, Texas (ben_fulbright juno.com)

I was 18, and in my first job as a radio announcer in British Guiana. We were broadcasting the West Indies cricket match, and in between innings it was my job to read commercial copy. I was quite pleased with my reading of the copy for a "spot" for Barclays Bank; unfortunately, in my self-congratulation I lost focus and ended up the spot triumphantly with "and so, Bark at Bankleys!"
-Mary Franklin (ingsdonoldgirl aol.com)

What we in radio called bloopers. While interviewing Rocky Marciano, I ended a question by saying, "Isn't that rock, rightie?"
-Richard Flanagan, Fairfield, Maine (rpflanag colby.edu)

A radio announcer was reported to have said "The visiting dignitary was presented with a 21-son galoot."
-Jerry Alfred, Bothell, Washington (jerry73 frontier.com)

My father, a newspaper editor, liked to tell about the time he was speaking to a newspaper editors' conference. It was being held at a hotel in Palo Alto, California, since closed, called Rickey's Hyatt House. He started his speech by welcoming the gathered crowd to "Hickey's Riot House". Everyone laughed and thought he was telling a joke, but it was a verbal slip. Of course, he let everyone believe it was intentional.
-Bob Studer, Sacramento, California (bstuder surewest.net)

My favorite is from my son, ordering at a diner: "A chilled greese sandwich, please."
-Dr Edward C Greer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (egreer dow.com)

The occasion: meeting my future in-laws for the first time. We were sitting around the kitchen table nervously chatting about this and that when my fiancee mentioned that I liked to bake bread. "He's the best bread baker I've ever known" came out as "He's the best bed breaker I've ever known." She turned bright red, I stared into my coffee cup and (fortunately) her parents burst out laughing after a brief pause.
-Dick Shanahan, Minneapolis, Minnesota (dshans aol.com)

My mother once said (after her second glass of sherry), "After Papa has retired we're going to fix up the world and take a trip around the house."
-Nina Garrett, Old Saybroook, Connecticut (cornebg gmail.com)

My favorite spoonerism came from a small town Texas woman who had become frustrated while looking for new car tires because she couldn't find what she needed. She said, "I looked in every crook and nanny in town."
-Enita Torres, Houston, Texas (enitatorres gmail.com)

A spoonerism of "dish washer" would be appropriate if that were what you were stuck with as your job, don't you think?
-Duane Small, Syracuse, New York (dsmall twcny.rr.com)

A young man at the railroad ticket counter, distracted by the lovely and buxom ticket agent, asked "I'd like to have two pickets to Titsburgh." This one can do double duty as a Freudian slip.
-Jonathan Parkes, Rochester, New York (parkes frontiernet.net)

I have an aunt who taught high school reported that all day she had been saying "the sport of pain" when she meant "the port of Spain".
-Lois Westerlund, Charlottesville, Virginia (besidequietwaters comcast.net)

Some transpositions operate on a single word: e.g. "bankrupt" yields "bunkrapt" (credulous response to political or religious oratory), and "dyslexia" yields "dylsexia" (meaning unclear). These are smaller adjustments than the original spoonerisms, so maybe we should call them "teaspoonerisms".
-Peter Bradshaw, Menlo Park, California (bradshaw1729 gmail.com)

When an important visitor asked a friend of mine the names of her two rabbits, her children turned to stare in astonishment when they heard her reply, 'John and Mary'. The animals in question were called Buck and Flo: she could not trust herself to say their names!
-Lydia Koelmans, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK (lydia.koelmans blueyonder.co.uk)

My mother's side of the family has always been prone to spoonerisms. A favorite: my aunt asked one of her sisters to hand her the nead, threedle and nimble.
-Libby Durbin, Otis, Oregon (ldbelle embarqmail.com)

A friend of mine, a high school English teacher, dismissed her class by exhorting her students to view a TV presentation of the novel by Charles Dickens they were reading: "Don't forget to watch A Sale of Two Titties." She was so embarrassed she managed to teach the rest of the semester without mentioning the title ever again.
-Holiday Houck, Boston, Massachusetts (HolidayH aol.com)

My dear late father left us a long trail of Texan twanged spoonerisms that eventually entered into family lore. Some were simple, like "mission Mormanaries". Others were complex and racy like when he pointed out to our pastor: "This sure is good here cuntin' dountry!"
-Robert Martin, Shanghai, China (robertmartinhk hotmail.com)

Being interviewed on radio long ago, was asked what our favorite wedding gift had been. I tried to say "fitted sheets". I hope it was edited out. Never told anyone.
-Tossi Aaron, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania (tossiaa332 gmail.com)

Many years ago, a teaching hospital, which was still run by a group of nuns, was redecorating a former private house to be used as an out-patient clinic. We were meeting to discuss the final phase, the decor. One young nun, quite uncomfortable among all the doctors and administrators, said she wanted to discuss the colours of the rugs and drapes, but kept referring to the "Drugs and Rapes". The more flustered she became, the less she was able to say the right words.
-Dr. David L. Streiner, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada (streiner mcmaster.ca)

Years ago I heard a NZ newsreader talking about international world bankers, well, trying to talk about them, but mistakenly saying "international bored wankers". He laughed almost as much as I did.
-Kim Wormald, Melbourne, Australia (karrawah bigpond.com)

I've been preaching for decades, starting back when it was rare to see a woman in a pulpit. In a recent sermon mentioning the "Seven Deadly Sins", I confessed that my failings were gluttony and sloth. Only from the pulpit I clearly said "sluttony and gloth". The congregation was startled, then started laughing.
-Rev. Diane Miller, Carlisle, Massachusetts (dmiller uucarlisle.org)

I have a whole series of (dirty) jokes, some were told to me and some I made up, that utilize spoonerisms as the punch line. The normal way of telling these jokes has the joker reveal the first half of the spoonerism, forcing the jokee to finish it in their heads. The cleanest example of my "Dirty Spoonerism Jokes" is below. This one is not original.
Q: What's the difference between the Panama Canal and my mother-in-law on a merry-go-round?
A: One's a busy ditch...
-Trent Elliott, Marietta, Ohio (telliott siliconprocessors.com)

Here's one I really did hear at my travel agency: Your fart will deplight at 3 o'clock.
-Maui Maf, Barrington, Illinois (mauimaf sbcglobal.net)

Last weekend my daughter visited from out of town with her eight-year-old. Our contribution to a family dinner was the purchase of some miniature custard tarts topped with real fruit. The little "fruity tarts" proved so popular that The Uncle, no doubt intentionally, found himself dishing a spoonerism as he asked someone to "Please pass the tooty farts." Imagine the hilarity of an eight-year-old! The giggling references never stopped all weekend as our little Emma recited, with great emphasis: "Always eat your f-fruity tarts; So you can make some tooty farts!"
-Nora Francis, Vancouver, Canada (narf shaw.ca)

My mother-in-law once remarked as the hearse rattled up the street, "There goes the underhood neighbortaker."
-Steve Baum, Phoenix, Arizona (undisclosed-recipient cox.net)

When I was an editor at a publishing house that I'll leave nameless, galleys from a "how to succeed in business" text crossed my desk. For middle-management types who were what might be described as dead in the water, the author had coined the term "executive shelf-sitters". An indelicate letter reversal had occurred during typesetting. (Try saying "shelf-sitters" to yourself very fast, which is how typesetters have to set type.)
-Lillian Rodberg, Allentown, Pennsylvania (lillian.rodberg verizon.net)

I listened to a weatherman relate his most embarrassing public moment. It seems he was trying to explain how a warm "air mass" would be moving through the area, but it didn't come out right. He said if you say something like that on TV you have to try to neither turn red nor crack a smile yet continue your spiel!
-Robert Payne, Nacogdoches, Texas (rpayne sfasu.edu)

A highlight of any performance by the Capitol Steps, a musical group specializing in political satire, is Lirty Dies. Over the years they've written dozens of these topical poken-sword rants incorporating a bind-moggling series of spoonerisms. Choice examples appear here.
-Charles Higginson, Lawrence, Kansas (chigginson kuendowment.org)

Heard just last Friday (without humorous intent): "The smoke was so thick you could cut a knife with it."
-Hugh D. Hyatt, Upper Holland, Pennsylvania (hughhyatt bluehen.udel.edu)

I, like many people in the "32-and-over" age bracket, was introduced to spoonerisms (even though I was unaware that there was a name for it until much later) via a record by Jack Ross called Cinderella, which is available for your entertainment on YouTube. (Chicasee a fricken, indeed!) Then, in or about 1970, Jim Henson (bless his heart) gave us The Muppets version of The Frog Prince, in which the beautiful Princess Melora has been cursed by a weevil itch -- she can only speak in spoonerisms. I scored a VHS copy of it a few years ago, and it's still as fascinating as it was 40+ years ago. Simply brilliant. It's also viewable on YouTube. I righly hecommend it.
-Wayne Swickley, Minneapolis, Minnesota (wayneswickley comcast.net)

I am famous for spoonerisms. I even do it while singing with a group on stage, and it can be really hard to maintain decorum in the chorus when something strikes me as hysterically funny. Problem is, they tend to repeat. One of the groups I sing with is a church choir and there are certain anthems I dread because I'm afraid I'll snort or giggle whether or not I actually do the spoonerism. For example, Shall we Gather At the River has a line in the refrain "that flows by the throne of God". It's struggle to get it to not come out "throws by the phone of God". My favorite non-musical spoonerism: on a camping trip someone had set the picnic table with cheap silverware and I pick up the fork and said, "Look! A free thronged pork".
-Janet Moore, Severna Park, Maryland (jjmoore14 verizon.net)

Compere at a concert in Dunedin: the orchestra will now play The Bum of the Flightal Bee.
-Roy Sinton, Christchurch, New Zealand (roysinton clear.net.nz)

I remember as a child years ago listening to some radio show where a character named Col. Stoopnagle always began his "news" broadcast: "Good ladies, evening and gentlemen of the audio radience..."
-Ele Jackson, Gainesville, Georgia (elej mindspring.com)

On the CBC many years ago an announcer is said to have said "This is the Canadian Broadcorping Castration". The French have their contrepèterie.
-Tom Hawley, Lansing, Michigan (t.hawley comcast.net)

My friend, Jennifer, was reading the news on our local radio station in Terrace, BC, when she said, "...and, today, in Kelowna, a woman was madly balled by a bear." It never fails to make us laugh.
-Brenda Silsbe, Canada (silsbe shaw.ca)

Many years ago while guiding a blind friend along the sidewalk past a row of parked cars I told her we had to edge a bit to the right as the "peeking martyrs" were blocking the way. 45 years later I am still enjoying my "error".
-Rose McIntyre, Whitby, Ontario, Canada (tekon sympatico.ca)

I had a professor in college who spoonerized quite often. There were some run of the mill ones like "toin coss" but one day she broke the mold and I almost fell out of my chair. Ladies and gentlemen of A.Word.A.Day, please remember that to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you must "regularcize exerly." I kid you not, my professor uttered that spoonerism and she barely batted an eye. I was looking around frantically as if to say, "Did anybody else hear that?!"
-Olivia Beane, Medford, Massachusetts (beane20 msn.com)

When my family adopted two kittens, they were still unnamed when I observed them exploring the book and display shelving. I remarked, "They're just into every crook and nanny!" That spoonerism became their names.
-Kathy Wehrly, Hamilton, Montana (wehrly2112 msn.com)

It was probably less than five minutes after I read the delightful examples by Rev. Spooner out loud to my husband that he (my husband) mentioned he needed "to take the wog for a talk."
-Barbara Grunwald, Fresno, California (bgrunwald227 gmail.com)

In the late 1970s my plant ecology professor at U. of Saskatchewan, Dr Stan Rowe, related a spoonerism. A colleague had shared with Dr Rowe his excitement at discovering a group of large stones known in geomorphology as erratic blocks (erratic because they had been transported by glaciers far from their origin, and block because of their large size). The way it came out was "...we came over a hill and there before our eyes was a whole field of erotic blacks."
-Stan Hingston, Rosetown, Saskatchewan, Canada (sghingston sasktel.net)

My Dad was adept at using spoonerisms in ordinary conversation. You had to sometimes keep your wits about you to be able to follow him. Here's a favourite: coffic traps who wait for you to expede the ceed limit.
-Lynnette Campbell, Bellville, South Africa (lynnette.c telkomsa.net)

My favorite, but likely apocryphal, story about Spooner is that he once spilled a small amount of salt on the table while dining. Mentally reversing the technique for removing a stain, he promptly poured wine on it.
-Alex Novak, author of Tawdry Knickers (and Other Unfortunate Ways to Be Remembered), Bellefonte, Pennsylvania (agn2 psu.edu)

My grandmother has become quite famous for her spoonerisms over the years. In this first example she managed to create a double spoonerism and cross two fairy tales: Beeping Sleauty and the Deven Swarves. And my personal favorite: Kenfucky Tried Chicken.
-Shannon Quignon, Roseville, California (squignon pasco.com)


My father knew a man who told us about a friend with diabetes who had to take ensilage. He, of course, meant insulin.
-Merwin Smith, Colorado (msds prolynx.com)

In Serbian conversational speech, malapropisms are sometimes used deliberately, for humorous effect: "kontracepcija" (contraception) instead of "koncepcija" (concept), "kontinent" (a continent) instead of "kompliment" (a compliment), "mlad i neukusan" (young and distasteful) instead of "mlad i neiskusan" (young and inexperienced). Some of my colleagues, French teachers, amuse their students by saying "O rezervoar" (Oh reservoir) instead of "Au revoir"!
-Amalija Vitezovic, Belgrade, Serbia (amalijav neobee.net)

My Aunt Tillie was once describing a marriage of her Roman Catholic nephew to a young woman not of the faith. "They couldn't be married in the church," she lamented, "so they had to get married in the rectum." Still in her religious vein, and during the Vietnam era, she remarked that the conflict in Indochina was all the fault of the Budapests.
-Carolina Amoruso (a2awee verizon.net)

A colleague of mine and myself collect these from our fellow workers. Here are some:
"It was like a deer in the headlines"
"I want to be very pacific about this..."
"It fell on deft ears"
"Hindsight is 50:50"
-Kelly F. Duke, Calabasas, California (kduke valleycrest.com)

Overheard at work: "That doesn't pass the mustard with me!"
-Karen Quinn, Macon, Georgia (captkq bellsouth.net)

My colleague, an English professor, retired after a student spelled Appalachian mountains as appellation mountains.
-Emily Hoffman, Kalamazoo, Michigan (emily.hoffman wmich.edu)

I have a runny nose because I'm suffering from an allegory.
-Brian Barratt, Melbourne, Australia (umbidas tpg.com.au)

It called to mind an entry I found while searching my local Craigslist. I noticed an ad for an "interment center" which the seller said would be useful and attractive in my living room. Of course, I had to check out the full ad. Turned out to be an entertainment center, but I still cannot refrain from laughing as I envision Great Aunt Elsie, Uncle Joe and Grandma Mary handily ensconced in the interment center in my home.
-Linda James, Wheat Ridge, Colorado (lmj2nd gmail.com)

Your example cited "an Alcatraz around my neck -- surely a daunting prospect! An officemate years ago who was also familiar with "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" used to refer to "an albacore around my neck" -- and he'd been deep-sea fishing, so he knew whereof he spoke.
-Mary Postellon, Grand Rapids, Michigan (mpostellon hotmail.com)

My recent favourite was a colleague's suggestion that we should offer a "jester of good will". I can't say that without picturing a harlequin in a pointy hat saying "I am your jester of good will!"
-Matt Staples, Nottingham, UK (matt.staples capitalone.com)

Bertie Ahern, former Taoiseach (Prime Minister of Ireland), a couple of years ago stated that a renowned international financial institution had "testicles everywhere" (tentacles).
-Paddy Lyons, Greystones, Ireland (pmlyons gofree.indigo.ie)

My grandmother was a regular Mrs Malaprop. She once told us she had seen a wonderful film called "The Naughty Marionettes". Of course, it was "Naughty Marietta".
-Hannah Lurie, Durban, South Africa (hannah-lu mweb.co.za)

A Parks Board was meeting to discuss improvements to an area of the park. When "urinal" was explained to one member, he replied "Great idea! and we should have some arsenals as well".
-Prunella Barlow, Vancouver, Canada (prunella shaw.ca)

My three-year-old niece may have Asperger's Syndrome. When delivering this news to the family, her mother said she has "autistic tendonitis" instead of autistic tendencies.
-Michelle Hakala, Lodi, California (winebird winebird.com)

I noticed in a menu: Portable mushrooms! I guess they had doggie bags. Also, shortly after WWII "For Whom the Bell Tolls" was showing in Brussels. It was dubbed in French as "Pour qui sonne le glas". Frieda, my mother, persisted in calling it "Pour qui sonne la glace" For whom rings the ice cream.,br> -Rudy Rosenberg Sr., Westbury, New York (RRosenbergSr accuratechemical.com)

Who knew this was a word? Some of the poets near me did, but not I! Did you know there is a bookstore in Asheville, North Carolina that is called Malaprops? Brings back memories of life in Eastern Tennessee.
-Linda Flanagan (contramoves yahoo.com)

How could you discuss "malapropism" and not even mention the master of malaprops, Norm Crosby?! Yes, he resembles that title.
-Michael O'Callaghan, Las Vegas, Nevada (corneiliusolive gmail.com)

A classic malapropism was uttered by Archie Bunker in an episode of "All in the Family" when he used the expression, "defecation of character".
-Gus Shurvell, Kingston, Canada (shurvell queensu.ca)

20 years after it happened, my friends still remind me of the time I wanted to use the Hebrew expression, "mideoraita omiderabanan" (meaning "from the Torah" the first books of the Jewish bible) or from the sayings of the teachers (the oral Jewish tradition). Instead, I said " "mideoraita omiderammadan" (from the bible or from the Muslim month of fasting). It made several people very merry indeed.
-Tali Avishay, Jerusalem, Israel (tal_miqa zahav.net.il)

My favorite ad was one that described a new housing development as being "especially designed for the most disconcerting homeowner."
-Richard Cole, Santa Maria, California (rilico aol.com)

"I am a ferocious reader," said an acquaintance, and I conjured up visions of him with a lion's mane, roaring through the aisles of a library!
-Shruthi Rao, Bangalore, India (shruthir gmail.com)

I love malaprops, especially when they are delivered by people who make a living talking. One of my favorites was from Larry King when he was being interviewed by another TV person about his wide scope of interests. He stated that he was a vociferous reader. An attorney reporting on more papers submitted for review noted that they were duplicitous -- we already had the information.
-Deb Wolf, Chaffee, New York (dwolf wolfantiques.com)

My professor in Ancient History at Northwestern was dramatically describing the Battle of Thermopylae; the traitor Ephialtes revealed to Xerxes I Persians a secret passage by which they circumcised Leonidas' Trojans and defeated them. The class laughed and the poor red-faced man corrected himself -- that is, they actually circumscribed the Greeks.
-Harry Menton, Williams Bay, Wisconsin (peacock243 charter.net)

Malapropisms amplify in the context of poor language skills. On two trips to Italy this energetic traveler too often launched a question that didn't work as intended. While going into a B&B for dinner and seeing the owner's dog lounging at the door I asked "Qual č il nome del tuo carne?" Only when I saw the owner's horrified look did I realize I asked "What is your meat's name?" On another trip I was determined to find for a friend back home one of those tacky car signs, in Italian, that says "Baby on Board". Finding these in a store I asked the owner "Avete il segno bambino in brodo?" Another horrified look made me realize I had just blurted out: "Do you have the sign 'baby in broth'?"
-Paul Siri, Petaluma, California (paulsiri comcast.net)

I had a southern belle hiking buddy who was a malaprop! She once said, "Have they lost weight? They look emancipated."
-Janie Newman, Prescott, Arizona (tiajuana commspeed.net)

Richard J. Daley, Chicago's first Mayor Daley, was a master fractured-wordsmith.
He introduced an a cappella choir as an "Acapulco Choir."
He referred to Alcoholics Unanimous.
He said, "We shall reach greater and greater platitudes of achievement."
He said, 'We are proud to have with us the poet lariat of Chicago."
He called a bicycle built for two a "tantrum bicycle".
-Catherine Masters, Chicago, Illinois (cmasters schiffhardin.com)

Someone recently told me: "He must have psoriasis of the liver, and his writing is ineligible."
-Edie Bonferraro, Rochester, New York (edieb mailbug.com)

These appeared on exams in American Lit at Towson University:
Daisy Miller died from deadly misquotes (mosquitoes).
Walt Whitman was an eagle's testicle (egotistical).
-Clarinda Harriss, Baltimore, Maryland (charriss towson.edu)

My most memorable malapropism was the time I told my father that our erratically running car was erotic. As a teenage boy at the time there was plenty of things that I found erotic, but the car was certainly not one of them.
-gregeliot (via Wordsmith Talk online forum)

My eight-year-old grandson and I had a dispute over his watching a certain TV show. He called me an "old hole". Not being sure I heard this correctly, not what he meant (and trying to not overreact) I asked him just what that meant. "Well, Nana," he said, "if you don't know what a hole is, you need to go back to kindergarten." Relief! (I think he had misheard the term 'ho as in a woman of ill repute.)
-Elizabeth Vaughn, Henderson, Kentucky (elonvon hotmail.com)

Polonius employs a kind of malapropism in his explication of Hamlet's melancholy to the royal couple:
Find out the cause of this effect,
Or rather say, the cause of this defect,
For this effect defective comes by cause. (Act II, Sc. 2, l.101
This despite Gertrude's earlier admonition about his florid gibberish: "More matter, with less art," i.e. artifice, which elicits the councillor's rejoinder "I use no art at all, revealing his ignorance by unwittingly "confessing" that he knows nothing. (The word art here refers to formal learning as in the phrase "the seven liberal arts".)
As in all malapropisms, the irony rebounds on the speaker who tries to aggrandize himself or herself by using language of which he or she essentially knows nothing.
Charles Dickens employs this to great effect in several ironically drawn characters, e.g. Mr. Bounderby's housekeeper in Hard Times or David Copperfield's aunt, as well as others too numerous to mention.
-Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada (andpress sympatico.ca)

Years ago when I had contact with patients, it was not uncommon to hear the word palpitate improperly used for the word palpate, as in "I palpitated her breast but found nothing unusual." Perhaps the confusion was natural, since palpating a breast under some circumstances can lead to palpitations.
-Peter Bernot, Howell, New Jersey (peter.bernot bms.com)

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 1: I am Paul. I am called by God to be an apostle of Jesus Christ...
I once heard a preacher, meaning to quote the above, say "I am called God." He quickly caught himself and corrected it. I see it as explaining why one would want to be a preacher, for the high respect, reverence they get. In fact, we call them "reverend".
-Tom Hawley, Lansing, Michigan (t.hawley comcast.net)

A real email recently received after a strongly worded reply to their, it seems like, 100th promotional email, and the 99th time I 'unsubscribed': "We apologize for incontinence we may have caused you. We have removed your email address from our mailing list."
-Jim Wells, Bend, Oregon (jawells bendbroadband.com)

My favorite is actually a series in a conversation with a guy on a beach who was trying very hard to pick up one or another of three of us young women on a beach in Mexico. He strolled up tossing a wad of dollars bound with a rubber band, and, trying to look casual, announced that he was a typhoon. Swallowing our laughter, I suggested to him, that he meant that he was a buffoon. Looking a bit confused, he corrected himself and nodded, "Yes, I am a buffoon." Our would-be tycoon soon toddled off to find a more willing date, presumably with the line, "Hello, I am a buffoon."
-Yvette Rogers, Honolulu, Hawaii (yvettegrogers gmail.com)

In French, the common expression "mal à propos" means: not opportune. For instance: "Son discours tombe mal ā propos." His speech comes at the wrong time.
-Francis Bouquin, France (Francis.bouquin direccte.gouv.fr)

Freudian slip

I recall a lingerie shop, perhaps in Vail, Colorado, called the "Freudian Slip".
-Laura Sowko, Albuquerque, New Mexico (lasowko sandia.gov)

Many years ago I worked with a German-American young adult exchange program, and one night during a US-based event, a group of participants headed out for an evening at a nearby tavern. One of the German young men became engaged in an intense conversation with a very attractive local young woman, and when the group decided to head back to where we were staying, he told us to go without him, saying that his new friend would give him a ride back later. The next morning as we were all boarding a bus to head off for the day's plans, it was discovered that the young man had not returned from the previous evening. Our translator, a German-born woman utterly fluent in English (and three more languages) suddenly burst out, "Maybe he's been kissnapped!" -- and then suddenly blushed, realizing the mistake she'd just made. But I had to laugh, as we all did, and had the feeling that I'd just been present at the birth of a new word, perfect for the situation. (And she was right: the young man met us at our destination, dropped off there by his new friend from the night before.)
-Bob Harrison, Issaquah, Washington (bob quailcroft.com)

As a pastor, I have seen many humorous slips at weddings, but I shall always remember the groom who attempted to repeat after me "I take thee to be my wedded wife", and instead said "bedded wife".
-Rev. Donald Krug, Bend, Oregon (ghcdk98 gmail.com)

This reminds me of George Bush's worst Freudian slip in history on TV! (video)
-Sudipta Modak, Mumbai, India (sudiptamodak gmail.com)

During my dreaded graduate seminar presentation on a poet I neither understood nor admired, I unwittingly described his style as very "dis-stink." "I see your true feelings are coming through," observed the professor.
-Mary Ned Fotis, Lexington, Massachusetts (mnfotis rcn.com)

I once read the listing of a hymn in a church bulletin: "I Am Thin, O Lord," instead of "I Am Thine, O Lord." If only...
-Laura Burns, Galveston, Texas (laurab12 sbcglobal.net)

Some years ago, the was a Broadway musical that, unfortunately, had a brief run, "The Girl In The Freudian Slip". Although the show closed early, one of its songs is still played. I forget the title however the refrain concerned the then ubiquitous "executive coloring books" and had a girl singing about her lost love with words such as, "Color him gone..."
-Joseph C Mohen, Oaklyn, New Jersey (josephcmohen verizon.net)

My aunt, Dr. Don "Donny" McQuoid, a research and clinical psychologist for nearly four decades, always had a great sense of humor. She loved sailing when younger, and in the 1970s she had a sailboat she'd named "The Freudian Sloop"!
-Meredith McQuoid-Greason, Davidsonville, Maryland (McQuoidM si.edu)

A guest in the studio on my radio talk show in New Orleans in the 1970s, "Talk With Larry Ray", was describing her volunteer work with a local marine sciences institute. I asked her what sorts of things she did. She enthusiastically replied that her favorite work recently involved "the study of various marine orgasms".
-Larry Ray, Gulfport, Mississippi (callball bellsouth.net)

I dimly recall from Psychology 101 is that Freud not only never called these errors "Freudian slips' (he named the phenomenon parapraxis, but he also never used the term "subconscious", preferring the term "preconscious".
-James Eisner, UK (james.eisner ntlworld.com)


I have a friend that called the infinity edge to my pond an "obstacle illusion". I like it so much it is now hard for me to say "optical illusion".
-Ted de Clercq, Naples, Florida (teddeclercq mac.com)

I had never heard the word self-deprecating, only read it. And I read it as self-depreciating -- as in putting oneself down, akin to the accounting term to depreciate something. That made sense to me. That was an embarrassing moment when I said the word out loud for the first time, at a dinner party. In quiet moments I can still hear the sniggers.
-Kaye Stanistreet, Port Melbourne, Australia (kaye miesoftware.com)

Lindsay Lohan was once the victim of an eggcorn. She said in an interview that she didn't like all the sycophants in the entertainment industry. Whoever transcribed the interview misheard it as "sicko fans", thus spawning the headline "Lindsay hates her fans!"
-Ed, Indiana (yanulus yahoo.com)

As a pilot and a sailor, an eggcorn I've noticed a few times is the substitution of "nauts" for "knots".
-Keith Ulrich, Amherstk, Massachusetts (keith.ulrich verizon.net)

Is "old-timers' disease" an eggcorn for "Alzheimer's disease"? It certainly makes sense, as I can unhappily attest to.
-Tom Cherwin (tomcherwin gmail.com)

In the book Witches Abroad by my favourite author Terry Pratchett, one of the main characters uses an alternate spelling of the word diarrhoea: "dire rear". Ever since I first read it, I've felt that this spelling surpasses the original in representing the condition.
-Lars-Erik Sørbotten, Ås, Norway (lars babel.no)

How about "duct tape" for the original "duck tape" (it was originally made of duck cloth)?
-Barry Komisaruk, Newark, New Jersey (brk psychology.rutgers.edu)

My grandmother was from "the old country" (Sweden). When Grandma was ill, she would say that she wasn't "up to power" (up to par) and was afraid she'd end up in the "housepital" (hospital).
-Char Young, Renton, Washington (swedishchair yahoo.com)

One eggcorn that I like a lot is 'sick-as-hell' anemia for 'sickle cell' anemia.
-Jane Brandes, Larchmont, New York (janebrandes gmail.com)

One of my favorites is "for all intensive purposes" instead of "for all intents and purposes".
-Paul Castaldi, Havertown, Pennsylvania (pcastal enter.net)

I know folks in Arkansas who, during a very light rain, or what might be called a mist, will say that it is "missin'" rain.
-Larian Johnson, Lake St. Louis, Missouri (larian charter.net)

A football team is behind by one score at the very end of the game. There's time left for one play. A wide receiver runs 15 yards downfield, stops, and curls back toward his quarterback. After catching the ball and drawing the defenders to him he laterals the ball to a teammate trailing the play who runs untouched into the end zone for a touchdown. The Miami Dolphins once famously used this hook and lateral play to win a crucial game. Football commentators now commonly refer to this as the "hook and ladder" play. It always amuses me when I hear this because most of them have no clue that they're making a mistake. I think many must've wanted to be firemen when they grew up!
-Brooke Richards, Norcross, Georgia (brooker renovatechnology.com)

I heard my children say as teenagers "majorly" for "major league".
-Mike Nichols, Combine, Texas (mike.nichols intermec.com)

My (least) favorite eggcorn is when someone proposes to nip an issue "in the butt" rather than in the bud. Slightly more painful, and quite forward depending on the bud involved.
-Jeff Pelletier, Columbus, Ohio (jeffbc94 bc.edu)

My favorite comes from a student paper in which she was describing a process. Her process was washing her dog after a trip to the beach. According to her, she scrubbed and scrubbed him until he was totally emasculate. Poor Fido. All without anasthesia!
-Sue Wright (suelwright aol.com)

Eggcorn common in real estate descriptions: rod iron for wrought iron.
-Kay Leuschner, Texas (kayel stx.rr.com)

We moved to Europe when our children were quite young. Many American food items and products were not available so I often made things from scratch (macaroni and cheese, pie crust, cakes, brownies, etc.) You can imagine my amusement when I heard my one daughter telling her cousin that I had made the cake we were eating "from scraps".
-Anita Waldner, Frankfurt, Germany (amwaldner gmx.de)

My sister once misread the word "decapitalization" as "decapitated". Recently, a friend declared champagne to be her "drink of joys (choice)".
-Keelin, Napa Mateo, California (p.keelin ix.netcom.com)

Today I share with you what, to me, is the most annoying eggcorn: the term "butt naked" (as opposed to "buck naked").
-William Peavy, San Antonio, Texas (william.peavy nisd.net)

How about "pedal stool" for "pedestal", etc. I get these frequently from my students.
-Robert Fuhrel, Las Vegas, Nevada (robert.fuhrel csn.edu)

Remember Mrs Bridges's "very coarse veins"?
-Jack Holleran, San Diego, California (zonkerz cox.net)

"Music has charms to soothe a savage breast," is the first line of William Congreve's 1697 play, "The Mourning Bride". The word "breast" is commonly misquoted as "beast" -- which indeed "also makes a kind of sense".
-Paul Castaldi (pcastal enter.net)

I remember listening to a programme on the wireless some years ago, and being surprised to learn that some brainy fellow had won several chest ornaments.
-David Micklethwait, London, UK (micklethwait hotmail.com)

Just the other day, a colleague wrote "I don't recall how much force he used with a come along type wench." He meant "winch", not wench, but the effect was better this way.
-Russ Carlson, Bear, Delaware (rcarlson tree-tech.com)


I was once corrected by a Brit professor that the "vest" I was wearing should be properly called a "waist coat." I challenged him by stating I was willing to "go to bat" over the correct terminology. He rushed red-faced from the room, only to quickly return and say he had no idea that I was willing sleep with him ("go to bed") over such a silly thing.
Mary Helen W. Espinosa, Managua, Nicaragua (maryhelen.espinosa usa.net)

A now-closed restaurant in New York's Hudson Valley was named the Duck Cedar Inn. When my wife and I went there some years ago, we learned that the name either derived from -- or spawned -- the town where it was located, Tuxedo Park, NY.
-Ken Franklin (franklin.ken gmail.com)

One of the funniest mondegreens is the children's hymn about "Gladly, the cross-eyed bear" for "Gladly the cross I'd bear."
-James Clarke, Johannesburg, South Africa (jcl onwe.co.za)

Interesting you choose a reference to Eton Rifles to illustrate a mondegreen. It's always been Eating Trifles to me.
-Owen Jones, Barnstaple, UK (ojones northdevonjournal.co.uk)

When I was a child attending Sunday School, I asked my mother why God didnīt want us to go to Temperley Station. She smiled and said, no dear, you are asking God not to lead you "into temptation".
-Joan Vera Cockshott, Temperley, Argentina (jvcockshott gmail.com)

When I was a schoolboy, one teacher (a priest) asked us all to write out The Lord's Prayer and then showed us a compilation of mondegreens he had culled from previous such efforts. I only remember the first few, but he had a whole new version equally as funny. It began: "Our Father, who works in Heaven, Hello, what's your name?"
-Tom Collins, Cork, Ireland (bosuntom hotmail.com)

When I was with a sister cities exchange group in Japan, where it turned out that reports of the Japanese love for karaoke were all true; it was even provided on the bus on one of our group trips, with overhead monitors providing lyrics for whatever song was requested. But it also quickly became apparent that the lyrics were based on someone writing down what they heard, rather than copied from published sources. When "California Dreaming" got selected, the first words provided were "All of these are crowns" (rather than the correct "All the leaves are brown").
-Bob Harrison, Issaquah, Washington (bob quailcroft.com)

I had once heard a story about an officer in the first world war. I can't vouch for the story .... but he is reputed to have said: "Send reinforcements I'm going to advance." The message the recipient received was "Send three and fourpence I'm going to a dance."
-Patrick E. Camilleri, Ta Xbiex, Malta (pcamilleri mmp.com.mt)

Mondegreen has made Siri a celebrity.
-Robert V Marrow (robertmarrow gmail.com)

There is an advertisement on local (Tri-Cities, WA) tv stations that drives me crazy. The singers are saying, "Toyota of Tri-Cites", but all I hear is, "Toyota Atrocities"!
-Kathryn Kaser, Kennewick, Washington (kkaserco dwwireless.net)

The best example is the Canadian National Anthem, in English: "We stand on guard for thee", which is often sung as "We stand on God for thee"!
-John Winter, Toronto, Canada (john.winter sympatico.ca)

The bumper sticker "Visualize Whirled Peas" somehow comes to mind.
-John Schmidt, Cockeysville, Maryland (jes86 verizon.net)

One of the most famous of the Mondegreens is from the song "God Bless America" "Through the night with a light from a bulb" (for "Through the night with a light from above").
-Skip Kotkins, Seattle, Washington (skibip aol.com)

I sang "life is butter dream" in kindergarten (row, row, row your boat) and "I'm going to eat pizza" (I'm going to ibiza) completely unaware that I was mondegreening.
-Nita Deb, Mumbai, India (nita.deb gmail.com)

Daniel O'Donnell singing 'Among the Wicklow Hills'. The mother writing to her son far away from the Wicklow Hills mentions that his childhood photo is on her bedside still. When I first heard O'Donnell sing it sounded like the photo was on her backside still. Imagine how hilarious that would have been!
-Yeo Hock Yew, Singapore (hockyew48 gmail.com)

I nearly missed the sixties but didn't miss Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze, 1967. Thank you so much for putting a name to "'Scuse me while I kiss the sky" which some less turned-on folks, parents, etc. thought was "'Scuse me while I kiss this guy."
-Rob Handyside, Swarland, UK (robhandyside btinternet.com)

My son aged about seven, asked me if Jesus would have to wait a long time for God to answer. I asked him about this and he said they kept singing a hymn at school that said "Christ! Our royal master leans against the phone" (picture the red phone box) when this was from the Hymn Onward Christian Soldiers -- "Christ, our royal master, leads against the foe."
-Sheila Douse, Portsmouth, UK (shelima182 gmail.com)

My favorite mondegreen is from Billy Strayhorn's Lush Life where people nearly always hear "distant gay places" instead of the actual (as sung by Billy himself) "distingué places".
-Robert Martin, Shanghai, China (robertmartinhk hotmail.com)

High school librarians are trained to help students do their own research and must refrain from doing it for them. So, many years ago, when a young teen came up to my desk and asked for help researching mercy killing for a debate, I gave him the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature and told him to try "Euthanasia". He came back perplexed saying he couldn't find anything. These were the days of Dr. Kevorkian, and it was a hot topic. "Nothing under "Euthanasia?" I asked him. He replied, "I looked. I looked under "Youth in Asia" "Youth in China" and "Youth in Japan" and there was nothing."
-Ann Kranis, Brooklyn, New York (bklyngrammy optonline.net)

One of the best stories I've heard (possibly apocryphal) of a mondegreen occurred in an emergency room where a woman was heard telling someone on the phone that her husband, who had experienced a severe myocardial infarction (heart attack) had been stricken with a "mighty fart".
-Marni Hancock, Creswell, Oregon (mrh330 gmail.com)

My favorite appeared in a student essay in which the writer bemoaned his plight in this "doggy-dog" world. I guess this might be more appropriate if canines are less inclined to devour each other these days.
-Ken Morris, New York, New York (kmorris lightbulbpress.com)

When I was young, I loved singing "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" and I always sang "Later on we'll perspire, as we sit by the fire." It made more logical sense than "conspire".
-Sally Vannoord, Grand Rapids, Michigan (rsvannoord aol.com)

I wish I could recall what prompted the man at the bar to say to me, "Well, I turn into an Indian this May," an odd statement to which I, nonetheless, replied politely, "Why do you do that?" He replied, "Why do I do what?" at which point I knew we were probably off on a linguistic adventure of misunderstanding. "Do you get a tan?" I prompted, to which he replied warily, 'Yes... I get a tan..." I continued helpfully, "Is that why you turn into an Indian?" "I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about," to which I replied, "You said, 'I turn into an Indian this May.'" "No, I said, 'I'm torn between envy and dismay.'"
-Rickard Roudebush, Los Angeles, California (rroudebush48 gmail.com)

Church choir directors are very familiar with the mondegreen. One of my favorites is the hymn, "Lead On, O King Eternal" which, as sung by congregations, ends up sounding more like "Lead On, O Kinky Turtle."
-Linda Fulton, Aberdeen, Ohio (lindaf946 frontier.com)

A mondegreen, in Portuguese, was heard by a female friend of mine after the 1974 revolution in Portugal in which the Communist party had become prominent. My friend was complimented at a dinner party for being very beautiful, like a 'protaganista' (a movie star) but which she heard as, and was accordingly insulted by, the phrase 'puta comunista' (a Communist whore).
-Arnold Silva, Melrose, Massachusetts (via Wordsmith Talk online forum)

There is, of course, an entire website kissthisguy.com devoted to misheard song lyrics. The site name stems from one of the most "famous" misheard lyrics from Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze"!
-Andrew Mace, East Nassau, New York (herald948 aol.com)


I don't know which of this week's words could apply to my father-in-law, whose brain works far faster than his tongue can spit out the words. Mother-in-law and he were packing their bags for a trip, and he saw something fragile in her hand. He told her, "Don't check this in, we will take it as cabbage". He meant 'cabin baggage'!
-Meenakshi Ramesh, Chennai, India (ramesh.meenakshi gmail.com)

Last Tuesday, Feb 19, at about 6.08pm, Channel 9 News here in Brisbane informed us approvingly that "The robber known as The Post Office Bandit has turned himself into police."
-Grant Agnew, Brisbane, Australia (ggttwwaa gmail.com)

My nephew described long pants -- a rare clothing option to a kid living in sub-tropical Florida -- as 'long-sleeved shorts'. My dad always used and stretched the word cat-ass-trophy, for an untoward event.
-Colleen Kettrick, Brooksville, Florida (Argonauta4 aol.com)

All this reminds me of the current play on words of ex-benedict for the retiring Pope.
-Mick O'Donnell, Canberra, Australia (corrog ozemail.com.au)

My wife combines common expressions with wonderful results, e.g. "I can see the brass ring at the end of the tunnel" or "that's gravy on the cake."
-Jed Dannenbaum, Los Angeles, California (jed cinema.usc.edu)

Thanks so much Anu. My favourite theme this week is. Pardon my new school grammar. Accents abound all over China and in overseas Chinese communities when speaking Mandarin (I enjoyed six years of primary Chinese language school taught by teachers educated in Eastern Java, Indonesia). That comprehension requires verbatim script drawn on a palm or in the air. The same sound with different accentuations vis-ā-vis pronunciations pointing to different words and meanings. Within China there is this stand-up comedy genre called Xiāngsheng, played by one or two persons usually. There are some foreigners adept at this genre and got their fame in the CCTV and Radio.
-Yan Zen, Australia (yan.zen vodafone.com.au)

Preparations were underway for an after-christening party, and I was entertaining my baby granddaughter by pressing the picture of the duck on her bib, creating a quacking sound that made her laugh. Soon the bustle in the kitchen prompted her mother's nod for more quiet, and I said to the baby, "Oh dear, Mommy wants us to shut the duck up."
-Pat Coleman, Winter Park, Florida (lolpat70 aol.com)

I wish you were her to see the wedding, the pineapple of perfection, until Reverend Spooner asked the bride for her mating name and told the groom it is now kisstomary to cuss the bride while the Beatles sang the girl with colitis goes by!
-Monroe Thomas Clewis, Los Angeles, California (mtc mtclex.com)

In Pietro Mascagni's one act opera Cavalleria Rusticana the heroine Santuzza joins the chorus at the Easter Mass singing praises for the Risen Savior concluding with the words "O Signor, O Signor" ("Oh Lord, Oh Lord"). My mother heard me playing the recording and thought the soprano (Zinka Milanov on the recording) was singing "Horse manure, horse manure" - which is all I've ever heard too from that day to the present!
Also, one day in Rome a young man from Brazil and father of three children was telling me in very fine but heavily accented English how he was trying to build up his sons' inheritance by buying several hectares of land as often as he could afford them; he told me he already had several thousand hectares amassed for his children & was hoping in time to acquire several thousand more. I was absolutely mystified and couldn't imagine what in God's name he thought he was doing. I finally realized that when he said "hectares" I was only hearing "neckties".
-John M Blanche (johnblanche centurylink.net)

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