No, the answer isn’t “hum”! It’s “just substitute a different word that you do know.” Malapropism is one of my favorite kinds of humor: the ludicrous misuse of a word, especially by confusion with one of similar sound (American Heritage Dictionary).
As a child, “Bringing in the cheese” made made more sense to me than “Bringing in the sheaves.” I loved cheese and had no idea what “sheaves” were.
A few years ago someone mentioned that he was deeply concerned about the theology in a song that says: “…When my will becomes enthroned in Your (i.e. God’s) love…” What a relief to find out that “enthroned” was supposed to be “enthralled.” Do you suppose that someone who sang or copied the lyrics didn’t know what “enthralled” meant and just substituted another word without thinking—a word with exactly the opposite meaning? So instead of my will being captive to God, it’s on the throne! The dictionary gives the following senses of “enthrall.” I suspect that the second is what the song writer intended:
- To hold spellbound; captivate.
- To enslave.
So when we sing, do we spout forth nonsense or even heresy because we’re not thinking? Are our minds as well as our hearts engaged in praising God and voicing our commitment to Him? (One more thing: It’s worth checking out the theology in a song before singing it.)