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Earworm, a loan translation of the German Ohrwurm, is a term for a song stuck in one's head, particularly an annoying one. Use of the English translation was introduced by James Kellaris, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Cincinnati. His studies appeared to demonstrate that different people have varying susceptibilities to earworms, but that almost everybody has been afflicted with one at some time or another.

Some sufferers from earworm prefer the term "repetunitis" or, if sufficiently acute, "melodymania."


In the film Shrek, there is a parody of the song "it's a small world" by the Sherman Brothers, a powerful earworm.

"Tenser" said the Tensor; Tension, Apprehension, and Dissension have begun - This earworm was used to foil telepathic surveillance in Alfred Bester's award-winning science fiction novel The Demolished Man. It has become a well known meme in the sci-fi community.

External links

  • EarwormCollider - Ohrwurmbeschleuniger Musical Particle Accelerator by the art group //////////fur////.
  • Maim That Tune a website that offers alternative tunes which, albeit annoying, are likely to drive any other tune from the victim's head.
  • Earworms Software to enhance memory through song, designed by Aaron Koblin at UCLA D|MA.

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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

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