Letter: The earworm: a musical breed

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The Independent Online
Sir: Miles Kington (2 June) says he is unaware of the mot juste for a tune that gets lodged in the brain so that you hum it all day long.

The word I've heard used is "earworm", which nicely suggests how hard it is to dislodge one. I don't know who first coined it.

You can't get rid of earworms, of course, but you can make them breed. There is real satisfaction in getting a normally musically sophisticated colleague whistling "Una Paloma Blanca".


Taunton, Somerset