According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a mondegreen is a word or phrase that results from a mishearing of something said or sung. One popular example is “excuse me while I kiss this guy”, which is a mondegreen for the Jimi Hendrix song lyric “excuse me while I kiss the sky”.
In a Harpers magazine article in 1953, the American author, Sylvia Wright wrote about how, as a young girl, she misheard a line in a Scottish Ballad her mother used to read to her. She heard:
Ye Highlands and ye lowlands,
Oh, where hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl O’ Moray,
And Lady Mondegreen.
The actual fourth line is “and laid him on the green.” She explained the need for a new term because:
“The point about what I shall hereafter call mondegreens, since no one else has thought up a word for them, is that they are better than the original.”
There are websites and books devoted to misheard lyrics and we probably all have examples of songs we sang incorrectly for years until someone took pity on us, or more likely laughed at us, and shared the correct lyrics. I never understood the TLC song “Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls” because I heard “Don’t go, Jason. Water falls.” and couldn’t for the life of my figure out what that meant.
So, now to the blog title. ”Thanks, speedy God” is a mondegreen of “Thanks be to God”. When we were kids my brother asked my Mom who “speedy God” was and I have been saying it ever since. My other favorites are “A Monk Swimming” for “amongst women” and “Olive, the other reindeer” for “all of the other reindeer”. Both of these mondegreens are book titles. I hope no one else decides to use my mondegreen title for a book before I do. Ha ha. No plans for that … yet. :)
When thinking about writing a blog I had things I wanted to write about, but they were very diverse subjects and I spent months trying to come up with a blog title. I read the book The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. In one chapter she talked about a gratitude journal and I realized that was the perfect way to write a blog about a lot of different subjects. It helps that I have a lot to be thankful for.
So, there you have it, what this blog title means. I am thankful, that while trying to decide how to explain the title, I got to learn some new words. Learning new things – another thing I am thankful for – now I have an idea for another post!
To see more mondegreens check out It’s a small web’s post A girl with colitis goes by….