Frosty The Snowman Is A Ferret Elf They Say., You are right. “Momdegreens” is a funny looking word. When first I saw it, I thought it was some sort of strange vegetable people eat but I was wrong. Surprisingly, it is what people say when they do not get the pronunciation of a word, phrase or sentence correctly. Actually, we are talking mainly about young children who are eager to repeat new words they have just heard but it applies to adults as well.
Some time ago, while I was waiting in a long zigzag line in the bank to withdraw money for the month, a guy behind me was telling his friend, “Ah hear this prostrate thing killing fellas for so. Ah have to get mine check.” The friend replied, “Ohoe, you mean ‘prostate’ – the gland we have, that releases semen to make a woman pregnant. What you saying is ‘prostrate’. That is when you on the ground stretch out flat on your belly.
I heard an adult in conversation while talking about a microwave oven, called it a “Michaelwave.” Small children give us some very funny momdegreens. I have heard “peepee buhbuh” for “peanut butter”, “tea drink” for “sweet drink,” “zungle” for “jungle”. Before we go any further let’s check the dictionary to see what it says.
Collins 2006 defines “momdegreen” as a noun and says, “A word or phrase that is misinterpreted as another word or phrase, usually with an amusing result [C20 from the Scottish ballad “The Bonny Earl of Murray”, in which the line “laid him on the green” can be misheard as “Lady Momdegreen”]
“Christmas is just around the corner” as people say and we are going to hear lots of momdegreens from children who are singing Christmas carols and songs for the first time. I remember hearing a pre-school kid singing happily, “We three kings of all the Trinta.” Of course, he meant, “We three kings of Orient are.” In a foreign magazine, I read where some infants sang it as “We three kings of porridge and tar.” Really funny, but if you want to enjoy these momdegreens fully, you have to sing them.
“On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me” became, “On the first day of Christmas, my tulip gave to me,” “O come all ye faithful”, was heard as “O come foggy faithful,” and “Frosty the Snowman is a fairy tale they say” – “Frosty the Snowman is a ferret elf I say.”
“Noel, Noel born is the king of Israel,” – Noel, Noel Barney’s the king of Isreal,” “In the meadow, we can build a snowman. Then pretend he is Parson Brown” was sung as, “In the meadow, we can build a snowman. Then pretend he is sparse and brown.”
Do you remember, “Deck the halls with boughs of holly?” Well, that was interpreted as, “Deck the halls with Buddy Holly.” “Later on, we conspire, as we dream by the fire”- “Later on, we’ll perspire, as we dream by the fire.” In “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” we hear, “He’s making a list, checking it twice.” These lyrics became, “He is making a list, chicken and rice.”
In “Rudolph, the Red-nosed reindeer”, the line that goes, “All of the other reindeer”, was heard as, “Olive, the other reindeer.” And “You’ll go down in history” to “You’ll go drown in Listerine.”
In the “Jingle Bells” song, there is “Giddyup, giddyup.” Well, that was sung as, “Get a yuck, get a yuck.” And, “Oh, what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh” as delivered as, “Oh, what fun it is to ride with one horse, soap and hay.
When the mother took up her little boy after Sunday School, she asked him what he had learnt that morning in class. He told her, “I learn a hymn about a boy called Andy.” The mother replied, “Andy! I have never heard such a hymn in all my life. Sing it let me hear. Sing anything you can remember.” Her son sang, “Andy walks with me. Andy talks with me. Andy tells me I am his own.” (And He walks with me. [And He talks…” Et cetera. Another momdegreen.