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Posted by Shae on November 13, 2002

In Reply to: Re: Spoonerisms, genuine or otherwise posted by TheFallen on November 13, 2002

: : : : : Recent discussions prompt me to wonder what exactly a spoonerism is. Is it simply a transposition of letters or syllables, or do the transposed elements have to make sense? For example, "cattleships and bruisers" makes sense but "naily dewspaper" doesn't. Any advice?

: : : : From dictionary.com

: : : : Word of the Day for Monday April 15, 2002:

: : : : 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.
: : : : The Lord is a shoving leopard ["loving shepherd"].
: : : : 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"].

: : : : 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.

: : : Spoonerisms don't have to make sense. "Paily daper" qualifies. It's just that the ones that do make sense, especially if it's a ludicrous sense, get quoted over and over.

: : I never heard of the term until Mr.bob used it a while back.
: : I was in a rock and roll band a while back and we called ourselves the Polling Rapers. My mother STILL asks me what it means.

: I'm rather fond of the Reverend William A. Spoooner, who was warden of my old college - though he died near on 50 years before I arrived there. Attributed to him in the Columbia World Of Quotations (and therefore almost certainly genuine) is the following reprimand to a particularly lax undergraduate.

: "Sir, you have tasted two whole worms; you have hissed all my mystery lectures and been caught fighting a liar in the quad; you will leave by the next town drain."

: Also apocryphally attributed to him is the following toast made in New College dining hall - I can find no source that backs this one up.

: "Let us glaze our (r)arses to the queer old dean."

Ooops! Apologies for going out of it.