“Oh say can you see/ By the dawnzer lee light”


** Click here for Episode 161 **

Here is a question from a questioneer who does not identify him/herself, perhaps because of their shame over their following revelation:

What word or phrase did you totally misunderstand as a child (or embarrassingly far into adulthood…)?

I always wondered what ‘Roman board’ was…

…later I realized it was ‘room and board’.

Also, I just got to tell my flatmate that ‘for all intensive purposes’ is actually ‘for all intents and purposes’ – he’s 23…

23! My eldest brother earned the nickname ‘Fernie Splodgings’ thanks to his misapprehension of the term ‘Furnished Lodgings’, but he was only three at the time. Share your own long-held mondegreens in the comments and we can all have a jolly good laugh at you.

PS Slightly off-topic, but since we’re in the slips-of-the-tongue ballpark…

Yup, still funny.

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14 Responses to ““Oh say can you see/ By the dawnzer lee light””

  1. helenzaltzman Says:

    I misheard a line in ‘Empire State of Mind’ as “Concrete jungle wet dreams are made of”.

    I continue to mishear it because my brain will not accept the grammatical abomination that is the real lyric.

  2. shaun Says:

    When i was a very naive 10 year old and looking forward to a summer holiday in italy with scouts, one off the older scouts told me we’d be going muff diving. A muff was supposedly a sponge like creature that lived in the med! It was years before i knew any different , no wonder i used to get funny looks whenever i mentioned it. Still makes me laugh now and its over 30 years ago!

  3. Salvez from Oregon Says:

    I’m a child of the 80s and boy did I love the band Mr. Mister. They did a song called “Kyrie”. All I know is that the chorus sounded like “carry a laser”, but was actually:
    Kyrie eleison, down the road that I must travel
    Kyrie eleison, through the darkness of the night
    Kyrie eleison, where I’m going will you follow
    Kyrie eleison, on a highway in the light

    BUT, carrying a laser in all these situations made perfect sense to me. I really think that’s what they meant. I mean, what the hell is Kyrie eleison anway? Answer me that!

  4. Derek Says:

    As a child I though ultra-violet light was Ultra Violent.

  5. Nikki Says:

    I thought for a long time the Bees Gees sang “and you come to me on a submarine” only to find it was in fact more to do with a “summer breeze”!

    • Liz Says:

      Which reminds me that I always thought the line from Madonna’s song La Isla Bonita was ” chocolate goolie eydenbries” when it was of course “tropical the island breeze” !!

  6. Doc Anthony Says:

    I’ve got a Ph.D. and still thought it was “intensive purposes”. What a thicky! In my late 20s I remember a posh work mate laughing at me when I pronounced misled, like it was from the verb, ‘to misle’ (which I thought it was), rather than mis-lead. Trouble with being sort of well read but not generally having people to talk to with much of a vocabulary….

  7. Kat from South London Says:

    God knows how I picked this up, but when I was five or six I would wax lyrical about something called “lestitutes.”

  8. rikkit Says:

    I thought it was ‘for all intensive purposes’ too for quite a long time. 😦

  9. rich Says:

    I always had a problem with the middle part of the alphabet.

    It went something along the lines of ellomenopey. One word one letter I convinced myself

  10. Matt Says:

    When I was little, like four, I misheard the announcer on the underground at Liverpool Street, when he kept saying “Mind the Gap”, I thought he was saying “Buy the Bagguette”…I know, I was a skilled child 🙂

  11. Gee Says:

    Always thought that the stupid Enya song was called “Sellotape” instead of “Sail Away.” I thought it was odd for a long time, until my mum corrected me. I dont feel so bad about it as I was only 12.

  12. Luke Says:

    In a song I like, there is a verse that begins ‘for all the liars…’ , which since a week ago I misheard as ‘Holy Lions’ heh, it wasn’t funny when singing it for my girlfriend =P

  13. Willow Says:

    A very innocent friend of mine for the longest time misheard the infamous Prodigy song as “Snap my picture”. Yes, she was raised Mormon.

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