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Hozier, Butchered Tongue: the Lyrics & Their Meaning


“Butchered Tongue,” written by Hozier, is a song released on the 18th of August, 2023. It is the twelfth song from Hozier’s 2023 album, Unreal Unearth. The meaning of “Butchered Tongue” lyrics by Hozier refers to violence in history and indigenous people’s zeal to fight for rights. This song talks about the brutality of the Wexford Rebellion of 1798 and the determination of protestors to preserve cultural heritage. Also, it talks about the strength of a language and the strength of who people are as we remember who we are to wear it as a badge of honor.

The song is inspired by the 7th Circle of Hell Canto XII to XVII, known as the ‘Circle of Violence or Hell of the Violent and Bestial’ which is one of the lower circles of Hell. This ‘circle of Hell’ is divided into three different spirals, each punishing different types of violence and misconduct. Hozier focuses primarily on the topmost ring of the spiral where those who commit violence against others and their property are punished by being submerged in a river of boiling blood called the Phlegethôn, and centaurs patrol the area, shooting arrows at those who emerge from the blood.

You can listen to Hozier’s “Butchered Tongue” below.

Hozier, Butchered Tongue: the Lyrics & Their Meaning

The first verse of “Butchered Tongue” lyrics by Hozier talks about people uniting to preserve their culture in the face of adversity conspiring against the indigenous people. Here, the words such as “Appalacicola,” and “Hushpukena,” are indigenous places in Australia, and “Gweebarra” is a bay in West Bengal. Hozier expresses the strength of people in not losing their courage while their identity and their culture were systematically tried to get eradicated from history.

In the chorus, Hozier shares that while walking through the trails of unluck and doom, a person should try singing to uplift the self-esteem of everybody on the same path. He speaks to sing to preserve the language and to preserve the culture for social morale. “A butchered tongue still singin’ here above the ground” means to rebel against the voices who have tried to erase the indigenous language and history from the face of the Earth. In the second chorus, Hozier touches on the indigenous lives facing adversity in their own land right in front of the eyes of their family members. They too have the capacity to love each other and exist on Earth the way it fits right for them.

The second verse of “Butchered Tongue” lyrics by Hozier dives deep into the Wexford Rebellion of 1798. It is about the ancient practice of cutting off body parts, particularly ears, as a form of punishment and intimidation. Also, the use of the horrific ‘pitchcapping’ (a brutal form of execution employed in certain historical contexts where a cap made of pitch, a sticky tar-like substance, was placed on a victim’s head and set on fire, causing severe pain and often resulting in death) and the denial of a proper burial for those who passed away in the rebellion were practiced. 

What Are the Lyrics of “Butchered Tongue” by Hozier?

These are the lyrics of Hozier’s “Butchered Tongue” via Genius:

Butchered Tongue Lyrics

[Verse 1]
As a child it was the place names
Singin’ at me as the first thing
How the mouth must be employed in every corner of itself
To say “Appalacicola” or “Hushpukena”, like “Gweebarra”
A promise softly sung of somewhere else

And as a young man blessed to pass so many road signs
And have my foreign ear made fresh again on each unlikely sound
But feel at home, hearin’ a music that few still understand
A butchered tongue still singin’ here above the ground

[Verse 2]
The ears were chopped from young men if the pitch cap didn’t kill them
They are buried without scalp in the shattered bedrock of our home
You may never know your fortune
Until the distance has been shown between what is lost forever
And what can still be known

So far from home to have a stranger call you, “Darling”
And have your guarded heart be lifted like a child up by the hand
In some town that just means ‘Home’ to them
With no translator left to sound
A butchered tongue still singin’ here above the ground

Hozier’s “Butchered Tongue” Lyrics

Comment on the meaning behind the song “Butchered Tongue” lyrics by Hozier below or on the Twitter handle “@laviasco”. We have also analyzed “First Light” and “Who We Are” by Hozier.


Laviasco is an entertainment website run by a single person, the Admin himself, Mr. Suraj Marahatta, from research to blogging to website maintenance. Here, I have been providing the meaning of the lyrics of the songs little by little since 2019. My goal is to provide authentic sources for the facts and stay up-to-date.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I’m so glad I came across this article. Your insights are incredibly valuable and thought-provoking.

  2. Suplementy Serce

    Your ability to communicate complex ideas in an accessible way is impressive. Great job on this post!

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