Monthly Archives: September 2011

Wordsbybob is up for an award

My blog has been nominated by in their Best Grammar Blog of 2011 contest.    

I am honored, and now I need YOUR VOTE.

If you enjoy what I have to say here, please go to

You can vote for me there.  The nominees (all 78) are in alphabetic order, so I am third from the last.

Thanks in advance, and please share this with others.

Bob McDonnell

It’s not easy being mondegreen


A mondegreen is defined as  the mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase in a way that gives it and new meaning.

Credit for the coining of the term goes to  American writer Sylvia Wright. In 1954, Wright’s essay in Harper’s magazine pointed out where the term comes from.

In the piece, she described how, as a young girl, she misheard the last line of the first stanza from the 17th-century ballad titled “The Bonny Earl O’Moray.”

The writer remembers how her mother read the poem aloud, and she heard::

Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands,

Oh, where hae ye been?

They hae slain the Earl O’ Moray,

And Lady Mondegreen. 

The fourth line really reads “And laid him on the green.” There was no double homicide involved.

In 2008 the mondegreen was officially added to the Miriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, It can also be found in the Oxford English Dictionary and

I am researching for a possible future magazine article on modegreens.  Here are
a new meaning. Commonly, it is applied to a poem or song lyrics.

Aside from songs and poems, here are a few mondegreens in everyday usage.

In the world of high-tech, the term open source software is bantered around. Some, not in the know hear this as “open sores software.”  Sounds painful—and gross.

Speaking of pain, there is no such thing as a heartbreak monitor. (Heart rate monitor, yes)

Also on the medical front, you may suffer from very close veins, but they only treat varicose veins.

Some people have cable television, some a dish and some paper view.  Ooops, that is pay-per-view.

Businesses should take note of their slogans too.  At least one-person thought Coke was saying have a coconut smile.

I will close this post by telling you that maybe someday I will be in line to win a Pullet Surprise. (Pulitzer Prize—yeah, right!)

What mondegreens have you hear?

Channel waste–What is it?

Channel waste?    I am always on the alert for new words or phrases.   They can be written or spoken.

I have heard a radio commercial for Dish Network recently where they reference “channel waste.”  What the heck is this?

When I Google (is google really a verb?) channel waste, only one hit come up.
that is the one for Dish.

ANYWAY – it seems channel waste is the channels you never use when you get a “bundle” of them from your cable provider. For example, I may get the Golf Channel, but I never watch it so this is channel waste.

I am sure there are other channels, like the shopping networks, that I am “wasting.”

When I first heard about channel waste, my mind thought of channel waist. This could be a condition one gets from watching all this television shows for hours, and remaining inert.

So, if someday you hear a comment about someone’s body, and they say they have channel waist, remember you heard it here first. contest for wordsbybob

Wordsbybob. com faithful readers.  I need your  help.  I was notified by that they are holding a contest for the best grammar blog of 2011.

If you think I am a candidate for this, please do the following.  Go to page and put in the nomination form.

After I get nominated by some of you, will hold a contest of all nominees.  I will let you know when to vote on that starting Sept. 26.

Thanks for the support!

Weird words – a guest post

Below is a reprint (is that the right word?) of a blog post by a new friend.  I met Marc Kray at a gathering of people who like Iowa Hawkeye football. (So, he has to be a good guy)     Marc is a realtor in Loveland, and I had no idea he had a blog until he shared this post on weird words with me.

His blog is

With permission, here is his blog post on words:

Weird Words

The English language (funny in and of itself considering the  “English” spoken in England is vastly different than the  “English” spoken in the US and other places) is full of strange  words, double meanings, double spellings, and just all-around bizarreness that  I couldn’t help but start a list.  Send  me your favorite weird words and I’ll add them here.

In no particular order (just the order I wrote them down  here):

Weird – i before e except after c, and except in some proper  nouns, and except in the word ‘weird’

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