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Posted by Bruce Kahl on November 13, 2002

In Reply to: Spoonerisms posted by R. Berg 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

: : 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.

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