Words and phrases you misunderstood as a child

This thread is not about misunderstood song lyrics (aka ‘mondegreens’).

Rather, this therad is about words or phrases that you misunderstood when you were little. I’ll start…

I thought daytime dramas, the ones shot on video, were ‘soap boppers’. (Soap operas.)

I thought a certain Olympics event was ‘finger skating’. (Figure skating.)

I told a waitress, ‘Yes!’ She asked ‘Yes, what?’ I told her, 'Yes, I want ‘super salad!’ (‘Do you want soup, or salad?’)

Life was so much more interesting when I was five! :slight_smile:

At the end of a radio or TV ad for a movie, they’d say “Great at G!” I figured it meant that the movie was shown at different cinemas, each named for a letter, and that it was *meh *at most of the cinemas, but it was *great *at the G one.

Around age eight or nine, I figured out they were “Rated G” – deemed appropriate for General audiences by the MPAA.

I used to think people went hand gliding (hang gliding).

I thought they were serving Chicken Alan King (chicken a la king) in the school cafeteria.

I thought President Lincoln became famous because he “freed the sleighs” which must have gotten stuck in the snow.

I thought a London fiend was a woman named ‘Jacqueline Hyde’.

I’ve mentioned before that my mother grew up in You Nork, and when I was a child we would go there to visit her family.

I’ve also mentioned that I thought Shirley Temple Black was a little African-American girl who sang and danced in the movies, just like the other Shirley Temple.

At about five, I thought my brother had gone camping at Ucemitie. Not much later, I asked my mother where Yos-uh-might was. Took me years to reconcile the two even when it was explained.

The Empire A State Building.

Blessed art thou, a monks swimming.
And blessed is the fruit of thy-ume Jesus.

I thought the Catholic family next door was secretly licking cats. And they kissed the cats when they went to catechism.

I thought the cartoon character was “Sammity Sam,” and when my mother tried to explain that it was “Yosemite Sam,” I was adamant that that was a nonsense word. Then I saw a sticker with “Yosemite Sam” next to the character and was confused by the awful misspelling.

At school we used to do eeny meeny miney mo the “old” way.

I went through my entire primary school career thinking we were catching a “knicker” by the toe, since that was the closest word that I actually knew, to the word in the rhyme.

Looking back on it, I’m pretty sure the standard pronunciation of my classmates involved a “K” rather than a “G” sound too, so I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one experiencing confusion.

For years, I heard (or understood) “you look like a monkey and you smell like one, too” as “… smell like 1, 2”, and wondered what the hell “1,2” smelled like. I suppose the order of operations at the toilet bowl would have made a pretty good guess, but I actually didn’t get that far with it.

This wasn’t me, but I remember a Sesame Street or Electric Company segment that showed a scene at the ice cream factory. One boy says “mmm, banella” and the girl corrects him with “it’s baNILLa”. This was funny to me because my own personal mastery of the word followed a different route: banella–>vanella–>vanilla.

That reminds me of a gag on The Banana Splits Show:

Fleagle reading: ‘[Do this] or ell-is!’ Who’s Ellis?
Sour Grape girl: I’m Alice!

As a child:

I thought aspartame was pronounced “as part uh me” (e.g. take “as part of me” and substitute “uh” for “of”), and that it was a completely different substance from the chemical I heard people talking about, which was pronounced “as per tame” but was certainly not that stuff I was reading about. Yeah, I read a lot from an early age, including a lot that was supposedly way above my grade level.

I thought that “filter cigarettes” were actually “filler cigarettes”. Turns out I must have read the label on a pack I saw incorrectly, and didn’t realize it for a long time since nobody in the family smoked and there wasn’t any reason for me to come into close contact with packs of cigarettes on a regular basis. I had also seen “light” cigarettes (in those days…) and figured that smokers started with “lights”, because obviously one needed to light up first, and that “fillers” were refills of some type that didn’t need to be lighted separately.

Pics or it didn’t happen.

Going the opposite direction, I met someone who thought that Martin Luther was the same person as Martin Luther King, Jr.

They were both Protestant clergy, but were separated by hundreds of years and a lot of issues. I can see how someone might get them confused if they only knew a little about one or both of them. Preacher who had a really big anti-status-quo message? Check!

I thought floors were cleaned not with household ammonia, but household pneumonia. Because if you really want to kill some germs, you pour a disease on 'em.

I understood that “a couple” equaled two.

I thought that “a few” equaled three.

And I seriously thought that “several” meant seven.

My mom weirdly pronounced girl parts. For years I thought it was vitcha-hi-na.

There are still people who believe this. A few years ago, I had a supervisor at work who wanted something done urgently, and I told them that it “would take me a couple minutes” to do it, figuring it might take me a half hour or so and that I would deliver the result then. They stepped away from my desk and came back two minutes later and eviscerated me for not meeting my estimate. When I mentioned that I had not estimated “two minutes” (which would have been an unreasonable estimate anyway), they said that the word “couple” means EXACTLY TWO.