An earworm is one of those annoying snatches of music, chorus, couple of bars, bass line, lyrics which get stuck in your head and play constantly in your head. The word earworm, which so perfectly describes the annoying phenomena, comes from the German, Ohrwurm which means ear worm. The word for one borrowed from another language is calque, which is a new word for me – claque is French and means a tracing or a copy or an imitation of something. Back to earworm…
I’ve mentioned earworms before and I’ve also written about earwords – I don’t know if anyone else has this when you have a word stuck in your head; a while ago for me nematode was an earword which I couldn’t shift – now I’ve mentioned it I will probably have it there in my brain again. A nematode is a microscopic creature, usually beneficial, which breaks down soil and is parasitic to other insects unhelpful to gardeners.
Last night I had an earworm as I was trying to drop off to sleep. It was so repetitive and irritating that I actually woke myself up and write down the lyric of the song that was on repeat in my ready to sleep brain. At the time I dozily wondered whether it was a real song or whether I’d imagined it. I’m glad I jotted it down as I wouldn’t have remembered it otherwise. I couldn’t remember the song itself, only that it was a man singing and it had a rather cheesy 70’s 80’s sound.
I’ve tried to look it up and I have come to the conclusion that in fact it was an imagined lyric, melody, voice, and instrumental. I don’t know whether I’m amazed or irritated by the fact that I seem to have imagined my own song which lightly tortured me last night. So what was the lyric? I only have the chorus: “Where are you? I’ll say it again, her name is Jane. I said where are you, I’ll say it again etc.” Very uninteresting, not inspiring or enticing, just doggerel really so imagine how annoying it was to have it on repeat in my head!
Here’s a real earworm: