The term “spoonerism” comes from the Reverend William Archibald Spooner, born in London on July 22, 1844. He was an Anglican priest, scholar and writer. He studied at New College, Oxford, before lecturing there for 60 years, in history, philosophy and divinity. He died on August 29, 1930.

Spooner became famous for an error in speech in which corresponding consonants, vowels, or morphemes are switched between two words in a phrase. One of the best-known attributed to him occurred at a wedding he officiated over. At the end of the ceremony, he is reputed to have said, “It is kisstomary to cuss the bride.”

As a writer and wordsmith, I have always found words and how we use them a subject of great fascination. Nothing has made me laugh more than spoonerisms. Among my favorites:

Birthington’s washday (Washington’s Birthday), Sale of two titties (Tale of two cities), Is the bean dizzy? (Is the Dean busy?), This is the pun fart (This is the fun part).

But the one that has made me laugh for years is a church conversation:

“Mardon me, padam, do you occupew this pie?”

“Indood I dee.”

“Well, may I sew you to a sheet or give you a perch in the back of the chew?”

2 thoughts on “Spoonerisms”

  1. Some other reported Spoonerisms are: “Young man you have tasted your whole worm” (wasted your whole term) and his toast, “to our queer old dean” (dear old queen) has always been one of my favorites. A couple of other good ones are: the “British Broadcorping Castration” (Broadcasting Corporation) and President “Hoobert Heever” (Herbert Hoover). My old roommate at the University of Florida uttered one when he referred to Babyface Nelson as “Babyfelce Nason.”


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