You’re a what with a glove? Or, pardon my mondegreen

We have all heard them—or misheard them: “There’s a bathroom on the right” (for “There’s a bad moon on the rise,” from “Bad Moon Rising,” by Creedence Clearwater Revival); “Might as well face it, you’re a dick with a glove” (for “Might as well face it, you’re addicted to love,” from “Addicted to Love” by Robert Palmer); and perhaps the most famous of all, “’Scuse me while I kiss this guy,” (for “’Scuse me while I kiss the sky,” from “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix). That last mishearing was so prevalent, legend has it that Jimi himself would occasionally stop and kiss a guy after singing this line in concert. If you have ever wondered what these mishearings are called, now you know: they’re mondegreens. According to William Safire of The New York Times, the term mondegreen dates from a 1954 magazine article by Sylvia Wright in which she said she had misheard the folk lyric “and laid him on the green” as “and Lady Mondegreen.”

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