is heard as
then the latter is a mondegreen. And when
is heard as
then the latter is a mondegreen.
The charming story behind the label "mondegreen" is that as a girl, Sylvia Wright (an American author) misheard the lyrics to a 17th century ballad, The Bonnie Earl O' Murray. The first stanza ends with
They hae slain the Earl O' Murray
And laid him on the green.
But the young Sylvia heard it as
They hae slain the Earl Amurray
And Lady Mondegreen.
In general, to qualify as a mondegreen the replacement must be as good as or better in some sense than the original.
(I am absolutely wild about Gladly the Cross I'd Bear/Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear.)
OK, that's a long introduction for an otherwise short post regarding misheard (and obviously misunderstood) quotations I've encountered. They are not quite mondegreens.
With an educational background that ended with a high school diploma, a friend and mentor (R.I.P.) had attained the executive vice-presidency of a large corporation and that corporation paid the tuition and expenses he incurred in subsequently acquiring a Bachelor of Arts degree through one accelerated program or another.
He returned from this program with his degree and a head full of information new to him, including a couple of mangled quotes:
- O tempores amores for O tempora! O mores! (This one went out in a memo sent to EVP's at other companies.)
- Separate the wheat from the shaft for Separate the wheat from the chaff (confined, as far as I know, to meetings in his office.)
The next time we found ourselves in a similar situation, he informed me that "The sins of the father are twice the hypotenuse."