Spoonerism

I came across this recently and was reminded about the fun I had in the classroom with spoonerisms. Of course, you’d be just fine if you never heard about a spoonerism, but hey, fun is important. At least this brings the odd smile to one’s face.

When I’m tired I tend to fruit salad my words and out comes … spoonerisms 😳


spoonerism SPOO-nuh-riz-uhm, noun:

The transposition of usually initial sounds in a pair of words.

Some examples:

  • We all know what it is to have a half-warmed fish [“half-formed wish”] inside us.
  • A well-boiled icicle [“well-oiled bicycle”].
  • It is kisstomary to cuss [“customary to kiss”] the bride.
  • Is the bean dizzy [“dean busy”]?
  • When the boys come back from France, we’ll have the hags flung out [“flags hung out”]!
  • Let me sew you to your sheet [“show you to your seat”].


A little bit of history. Spoonerism comes from the name of the Rev. William Archibald Spooner (1844-1930), a kindly but nervous Anglican clergyman and educationalist. All the above examples were committed by (or attributed to) him.

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