Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A melody or a portion of a piece of music that is involuntarily repeated in one's mind.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A tune that is stuck in one's head, especially as unwanted or repetitive.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Sense 2, translation of German Ohrwurm, earwig, (musical) earworm : Ohr, ear + Wurm, worm.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

A calque of German Ohrwurm ("earworm").

Examples

  • The term "earworm" is a translation of the German word Ohrwurm, used to describe the "musical itch" of the brain.

    What's an Earworm?

  • The term "earworm" is a translation of the German word Ohrwurm, used to describe the "musical itch" of the brain.

    Archive 2008-06-01

  • The best cure for earworm is to sing the Wiggles “Hot Potato” to yourself, over and over, until you can displace the offending tune.

    Cheeseburger Gothic » Let the word go forth from this time and this place.

  • But sometimes a worm, called the earworm, which is like the tomato worm, will appear during June and eat the tips of the young ears.

    The Library of Work and Play: Gardening and Farming.

  • As to whether the earworm ruined the mood, or a change in mood killed the earworm, that is

    canada.com Top Stories

  • "earworm" - a song that eats its way into your brain and refuses to budge for minutes or hours or days - can be irritating, but it's never been the focus of much study until researchers at the University of Montreal decided to look at obsessive melodies.

    msnbc.com: Top msnbc.com headlines

  • Now to find a way to exploit the "earworm" as a vector of cognitive contagion.

    blah blah blah blah blah & etc.

  • What's easier to find -- on Wikipedia at least, though the OED doesn't recognize it -- is the etymological origins of the term "earworm".

    Archive 2008-06-01

  • What's easier to find -- on Wikipedia at least, though the OED doesn't recognize it -- is the etymological origins of the term "earworm".

    What's an Earworm?

  • I'm so glad to have the term mondegreen now; it will surely vie with "earworm" for usefulness.

    It's all workin' out. - A Dress A Day

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • A song or catchy tune that gets stuck in your head for hours or even days. At first it's fun, but eventually you'll want to kill whatever idiot was responsible for the torture.

    <embed src="http://blogfiles.wfmu.org/KG/popcorn/boston-pops-Popcorn.mp3"; autostart="true" hidden="true" volume="35" loop="true" />

    May 30, 2007

  • "Medications that are used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder or anxiety can alleviate the symptoms of earworms."

    Thus spake Wikipedia. But really--can these medications eliminate the person responsible for planting the damn thing in your head? I think not.

    May 31, 2007

  • Oooooh - that was mean.

    May 31, 2007

  • I like the soundtrack. :)

    May 31, 2007

  • Not mean--just truthful. :-) And besides, it's usually not a person anyway, at least not for me. It's some inanimate object like, say, a CD. Which makes it my fault in the first place!

    May 31, 2007

  • I meant that it was mean to put that song into my head for me to hear all day. (:

    June 1, 2007

  • Which, of course, was fully my intent. I hide proudly behind the anonymity of the internet.

    June 1, 2007

  • Remember "I had a little peanut, a little peanut...it was rotten...etc, (ad nauseum)" It is a wonder my brother didn't kill me over that. And if not that, "Have you seen the ghost of Tom...long white bones with the skin all gone..." or something like that. . .

    June 18, 2007

  • Here's a good suggestion. ;-)

    July 6, 2007

  • That's good, R! I guess I was out of pocket five days ago!

    July 11, 2007