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Lady Mondegreen

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A character or non-character in a show, named (and celebrated) by fans after a line they misheard.

Not to be confused with the supervillain/Evil League of Evil applicant inspired by the trope. Also not to be confused with Mondegreen Gag, which is something different but similar despite sharing an origin and half a name (this trope is created by the other).

Sub-trope of Fan Nickname. See also I Am Not Shazam. This trope can also occur in-universe (compare the similar Ambiguous Syntax).


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    Anime & Manga 
  • AKIRA's character Kaneda was nicknamed "Canada" by fans following the pronunciation of his name in the dub that sounds like the name of the country.
  • Thief King Bakura of Yu-Gi-Oh! is sometimes fanonically referred to as Afekia, due to a mishearing of 'a thief'.
  • Nicely examplified by this Fate/stay night fan comic. Poor Lancer.
  • Pikkon from Dragon Ball Z became known as "Paul Kuhan" or simply "Paul" in AB Groupe's French dub and its many European derivatives, after the translator misheard his original name Paikuhan. Similarly, Son Goku's birth name Kakarot got morphed into "Cachalote" (sperm whale) in many of these dubs, though it was only heard in a single scene. While some fans have hung onto "Paul" as Pikkon's actual name, "Cachalote" is treated as a joke at best.

    Fan Works 

    Film — Animated 
  • In Cinderella, the King is about to salute the Grand Duke for the Prince finding love at the ball the night before, but the Duke's trying to tell him that Cinderella left suddenly.
    King: What title would you like?
    Duke: Sire, she got away.
    King: "Sir Shegotaway"? Hmm. A peculiar title, but if that's what you— [face turns red] SHE WHAT??"

    Film — Live-Action 
  • A somewhat surreal in-story version appears in Airplane II: The Sequel
    Witness: Striker was the squadron leader. He brought us in real low. But he couldn't handle it.
    Prosecutor: Buddy couldn't handle it. Was Buddy one of your crew?
    Witness: Right. Buddy was the bombardier. But it was Striker who couldn't handle it, and he went to pieces.
    Prosecutor: Andy went to pieces?
    Witness: No. Andy was the navigator. He was all right. Buddy went to pieces. It was awful how he came unglued.
    Prosecutor: Howie came unglued?
    Witness: Oh, no. Howie was a rock, the best tailgunner in the outfit. Buddy came unglued.
    Prosecutor: And he bailed out?
    Witness: No. Andy hung tough. Buddy bailed out. How he survived, it was a miracle.
    Prosecutor: Then Howie survived?
    Witness: No, 'fraid not. We lost Howie the next day.
    Prosecutor: Over Macho Grande?
    Witness: No. I don't think I'll ever get over Macho Grande.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 generated a few of their own such as:
  • The RiffTrax for Plan 9 from Outer Space created the entire city of Levytown, which the film's hero is gonna go do, from a slurred line.
  • In The Santa Clause, the poem "The Night Before Christmas" is read. Upon hearing the line "there arose such a clatter", the boy asks where the "rose suchak ladder" came from. Then when Santa turns out to be real, a ladder made by the Rose Suchak company magically appears as well.
  • Withnail and I: Peter Marwood. The surname comes from the script, the first name comes from the fact many fans have independently and distinctly misheard, "He's just had an audition for rep," as "Peter's just had an audition for rep."
  • In Young Frankenstein, Igor tells the title character that they brain they used belonged to an "Abby Normal."
  • The Dark Knight Rises: Along with huge amounts of fanon and memery from the infamous plane scene, several phrases in the scene's dialogue were affectionately skewered by fans after humorous line mishearing.
    • Unnamed Bane henchman - Juan O'Vas
    • The Masked Man - The Masketta Man/The Mosquito Man
    • "The flight plan I just filed with the Agent C lists Smee, Maimen, Dr. Paveleer, Button Lee, Juan of Yu!" explanation 
  • A Christmas Story: Many fans thought the real name of Ralphie's father, "The Old Man", was Hal due to the scene where as he's standing outside admiring his major award, his neighbor Swede comes over and says "Damn, hell, you say you won it?".

  • Father Brown: In-universe example with the titular character of "The Absence Of Mr. Glass". A conjurer was practicing juggling wineglasses, and counted out loud as he did so: "One, two, missed a glass". The young lady eavesdropping at the door misheard and thought he was talking to a "Mr. Glass".
  • "Olive, the other reindeer." Who later had a children's book written about her which was adapted into an animated special. She was a dog. Other characters in the animated special include a bus driver named Richard Stands (from the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance, "and to the Republic for Richard Stands/which it stands") and a biker named "Round John" Virgin (Silent Night, "round yon virgin, mother and child"):
    Olive: Oh, like in the song?
    Round John: I don't know what you're talking about.
  • In Bored of the Rings, happy fun explosive toys come in crates labeled with the name of "a fairy whose name was something very much like 'Amy Surplus.'"
  • The famous Polish poem Konrad Wallenrod by Adam Mickiewicz includes the line "Broni się jeszcze z wież Alpuhary Almanzor z garstką rycerzy" (Almanzor, with his handful of knights, still defending the towers of Alpuhara). A lot of schoolchildren apparently misheard this as "zwierz Alpuhary" (Alpuhary the Animal). The "animal" is consequently the protagonist of a number of humorous amateur poems.
  • In Little Things, there's an in-universe example. Harry explains to the fairy Toot-Toot that he can't order pizza because of the bad economy, prompting Toot-Toot to believe that a vicious monster called an "e conomee" is at fault. Since fairies aren't familiar with human society, this was probably unavoidable.
  • In The Magician's Nephew, Aslan tells the creatures of Narnia that an evil has come into the world. The animals immediately begin a search for the neevil. They find Uncle Andrew, the magician of the title, and decide he's the neevil, and they wonder if Aslan will let them keep him as a pet.
  • In Louis Sachar's Someday Angeline, the title character's teacher is named "Miss Turbone". Angeline's father thinks it's "Mr. Bone", and is initially confused as to why the teacher wants to be referred to as a "Mr."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Castle's Richard Castle was named deliberately so that when people yelled his nickname, "Rick Castle!", it sounded like "Rick Asshole!". He isn't that bad, really, just a bit dangerously charming. It's Nathan Fillion - the guy is Made of Win.
  • Stargate SG-1: Walter Harriman of the SGC got his last name through a Mondegreen of an actor (perhaps Don S. Davis?) either accidentally calling him "Airman" or yelling "Airman" in his general direction. Previously he was Walter Davis. (His first name was added on a whim by Richard Dean Anderson).
  • In one episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, Spock looked off camera and yelled what sounded like, "Take over here, Ryan!" and then recurring background extra Lieutenant Leslie said, "Yes, sir!" and obliged. Fans decided that the lieutenant was actually a completely different character from Mr. Leslie who just happened to share the same actor, and Lieutenant Ryan even had a Star Trek Wiki page for almost a year. Then one user posted the official subtitle of the scene, and showed Spock was saying "Take over here, Rand!" referring to a main character, Janice Rand, who for some reason did not follow Spock's order. It's confusing. But to make a long story short, Lieutenant Ryan never existed.

    Music and Folk Rhymes 
  • "Howard be thy name". Usually this is just meant in joke.
    • Also seen as "Harold be thy name".
    • See also: "Hark, the Harold Angels sing".
    • The same goes for the hymn lyric "Andy walks with me".
  • The Trope Namer is the same as for Mondegreen Gag; in a 1954 essay, Sylvia Wright wrote how she misheard a lyric from the ballad "The Bonny Earl o' Moray" as a girl. She mistook the line "They have slain the Earl o' Moray, and laid him on the green" as "They have slain the Earl o' Moray and Lady Mondegreen".
  • Also, "Gladly the cross-eyed bear." Mentioned in "Hide Away, Folk Family" by They Might Be Giants, although they renamed the bear "Sadly".
  • Many Australian schoolchildren believe that the nameless swagman in "Waltzing Matilda" is named Andy:
    Andy sang, Andy watched, Andy waited 'til his billy boiled
  • When Hate Dumb embroiled over the relatively unknown Bon Iver winning a Grammy for best new artist, many were mishearing the band's name as "Bonny Bear" (since it's pronounced "Bon ee-VARE"). Memetic Mutation ensued, especially when it turned out there was actually a character from an animated children's show named Bonnie Bear.
  • In the Argentinian "March to the Flag" a difference in word split created out of whole cloth the brave hero General Susvín: the original lyrics are: "cuando triste la Patria esclavizada/con valor sus vínculos rompió" ("when sad the enslaved Homeland/bravely her ties broke"), but the last verse is also understandable as "... con valor Susvín culos rompió" ("bravely, Susvín ripped assholes").
  • Similarly, the Mexican National Hymn, being written in somewhat archaic Spanish, is full of these; the most prominent example being the creation of the fictional "General Masiosare". The name came from the line "Más si osare un extraño enemigo/ profanar con su planta tu suelo" ("Though if a foreign enemy dared/ sullying your land with their sole"), in which the first words are pronounced in one go, making it sound as "Masiosare un extraño enemigo" ("Masiosare, a foreign enemy"). The expression has been adopted by the people to refer to any unknown enemy or suspicious stranger as a "Masiosare".
  • Still in Latin America but in Portuguese, the Brazilian National Anthem has Elvira do Ipiranga, from the opening line "ouviram do Ipiranga" (they heard from the Ipiranga - though the first two lines show it's actually a syntax-shifted "the Ipiranga's heard").
  • You occasionally see the term "the UK pop brigade" in music publications or websites. This comes from Joe Strummer's vocal phrasing in "(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais", which makes the line "Ken Boothe for UK pop reggae" sound like "can't fool the UK pop brigade".
  • In Finland there's a children's song about a sick bear cub that starts with the lyrics "Karhunpoika sairastaa / häntä hellikäämme" ('The bear cub has fallen ill / let us nurse him') but which is also often misheard as "Karhunpoika sairastaa / häntä helli käärme" ('The bear cub has fallen ill / he was nursed by a snake').

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In one Peanuts story arc, Sally tells Charlie Brown about her role the upcoming Christmas play, in which she's supposed to say "Hark!", "then Harold Angel sings." Charlie Brown assumes she misunderstood the lyrics, but it turned out that one of the other cast members really was named Harold Angel.


    Video Games 
  • "Gay Luigi" from Hotel Mario ("Nice of the princess to invite us over for a picnic, eh Luigi?"), by way of YouTube Poop.
    • And "Gay Bowser" from Super Mario 64 ("So long, King Bowser!").
    • "Weegee" from the PC version of Mario Is Missing!! is a similar case to "Gay Luigi" and has also seen usage on YouTube Poop.
    • On a lesser scale, try playing as Mario in Mario Kart DS and using an item after having a meal at Mickey D's. You'll never hear him say "Take-a this!" the same way again.
  • Ghetsis from Pokémon Black and White is sometimes known as Dennis due to misinterpretation of the background music during his fight.
    • Before the theme was known to belong to Ghetsis, the nickname belonged to Genesect.
    • Before that, in Pokémon Gold and Silver, the 2nd gen Pokemon Xatu was known as "Two-Two" because that's what its cry sounded like.
  • Halo: Combat Evolved introduced to us "Dustin Echoes", after a line where Cortana responds that all that's left is "just dust and echoes." Bungie even joked about this on their commentary for the cutscenes!
  • The song performed by Taiga in Hatsune Miku: Colorful Stage! had a bunch of Mondegreens, one of them being Caucasian Destination, causing the overhyped song to be called "Caucasian Destination" by the fandom.
  • Due to Game Grumps, Buddy from Another World is more commonly known as Mike Aruba / Mycaruba based on Danny's interpretation of Buddy's only soundbyte.
  • The main character of Hatred, dismissing his name as 'not important' in the trailer, was given plenty of names by the Internet, including Nadim Pourtant, Nothem Portent, Not-him Poor-tint, or Nahdim Portunt.
  • Carl Johnson's heavy pronunciation of the antagonist's name, Tenpenny, in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas led to some fans calling him "Tiiinpinny".
  • In Sonic Adventure 2, the song A Ghost's Pumpkin Soup (the theme for Knuckles' level Pumpkin Hill) has the line "A ghost tried to approach me/And got leery". Many fans ended up misinterpreting the line as "He got Larry", leading to some confusion as to who was Larry. It's mostly used as a joke now, though.
  • Street Fighter II had an official case, but written instead of audio, as Ryu's defeat quote was mistranslated from "You must defeat my Shoryuken to stand a chance" to "You must defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance". Hence a manual for the SNES port mentioning Ryu and Ken being trained by "Master Sheng Long" and for a while there was a Urban Legend of Zelda that Sheng Long was hidden in the game. (for fan cases, in Brazil there is "Alex Full", derived from Guile's Sonic Boom, and the immortal "Tiger Robocop", a mishearing of Sagat's Tiger Uppercut)
  • An Star Wars: The Old Republic advertisement for an armor set invited players to "Don the Exiled Knight's Armor." Players decided the pictured character was Don, the Exiled Knight. Don became an Ascended Meme with the Jedi Under Siege story.


    Web Videos 
  • Grimbeard, in his video on The Ring: Terror's Realm, refers to the player character as Egg after mishearing her introductory line. Without subtitles, her pronunciation is just ambiguous enough to sound like either "I'm Egg," or "I'm Meg." He corrects himself when he gets to scenes that are subtitled, but eventually decides she doesn't deserve the name Meg and goes back to calling her Egg.
  • Inverted with Fegelein in many Hitler Rants: The original scene has Hitler repeatedly pound his desk as he demands Fegelein be found, the Gag Subs subtitling whatever word they need repeated.
  • One of the original characters from ProtonJon's livestream community is "Beefuru", a bovine resembling Bub from Bubble Bobble, and his origin was due to Jon mishearing the line "Ripple!" from Bust-A-Move 4 as "Beefuru!"
  • DougDoug has the infamous "Poob vs Ploob" debate. During a stream of Grand Theft Auto V where he tried to bike down Mt. Chilliad using voice commands, a member of his Chat suggested "Poob" as a command. Confused, Doug discovered that "Poob" was the name given to a monster from the show Star Wars Ewoks by Wookiepedia. After the command was set up, another chat member pointed out that in the episode, the name sounded more like "Ploob", much to Doug's disagreement. What followed was hours of arguing, getting distracted from the challenge, and the Wookiepedia page being edited, vandalized, and finally locked, until Doug tweeted the episode's writer Paul Dini for answers. Even when he answered "Ploob", Doug still refused to give up, trying to change the name through Court, and finally submitting a petition to the US Government, both of which failed.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Adventure Time episode Five Short Graybles, BMO refers to their imaginary friend 'Football'. Due to the character's heavy accent, many fans have misinterpreted it as 'Fuppo'.
  • In Beast Wars, Cheetor winds up in the ship the Predacons use as their base and is told by a melodramatic Terrorsaur "Welcome to The Dark Side." And that is how the ship became known as the Darksyde (spelled with a Y for trademark reasons).
  • The Detentionaire fandom was once convinced that Jenny's last name is spelled "Jerkins" until Word of God stated it was actually "Jergens". Some fans still spell it incorrectly. Similarly, Steve's last name was originally thought to be "Carvey", but was later confirmed to be "Carb".
  • In the Fireman Sam episode "Barn Fire", Sam dubs his invention "The Samuel Patent Potato Picker". This led to many people, including some news sources, believing his full name was Samuel Peyton. While his full first name being Samuel is canon, his actual surname is Jones.
  • Flushed Away has an In-Universe example: Roderick calling himself an "innocent bystander" leads everyone in the movie to start calling him Millicent Bystander.
  • Young viewers of JoJo's Circus are prone to mishearing the name of JoJo's pet lion Goliath as The Lion.
  • A sea serpent in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic was given the Fan Nickname "Steven Magnet" after YouTube's automatic audio transcription gave that as the transcription for one of his lines. This later became his official name when it was used for toys.
  • The Venture Brothers: "Dawn Venture" is an in-universe example; thanks to a misunderstanding associated with a cross-dressing Dean's marriage to Baron Underbheit at sunup, Hank is convinced to this day that he has a long-lost sister named Dawn.
  • In the Russian dub of The Transformers, Soundwave's name was changed to 'Бархан' (Barkhan, meaning "dune"), which, apparently, came into being because the dubber misheard the character's name as 'Sandwave'.

    Real Life 
  • Pre-Civil War Northerners who sympathized with Southern interests were called "doughfaces", a term popularized by congressman John Randolph. Some historians think that he actually called them doe faces, but was misunderstood.
  • The "an evil/a neevil" Narnia example is similar to a real process that gave us words like "apron" and "adder." People heard "a napron" or "a nadder" as "an apron" and "an adder." It worked the other way around for some words like "a newt" (an ewt) and for the nickname "Ned" for Edward; it was "mine Ed" which transformed into "my Ned."
    • Oranges (the fruit, for which the color is named) are known in Sanskrit, Persian etc by words like "naranj". When they made the jump to European languages, "une norenge" (French) or "una naranja" (Spanish) became "an orange" (English).
    • The English word "alligator" is thought to be a corruption/mishearing of the Spanish "el lagarto", meaning "the lizard."
  • The Ottoman corsair known as Barbarossa (Redbeard) was a victim of this: he was actually nicknamed "Papa Oruç", which Italians misheard as Barbarossa.
  • When she was Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard would refer to opposition Tony Abbott as "Mister Abbott", but ran the words together so it sounded like she was saying "Mister Rabbit". (Opinion is divided on whether this was a deliberate slight or merely a product of her unusual Welsh/Australian accent.) Many of Abbott's detractors took to referring to him as 'Mister Rabbit'.