Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Spoonerisms (Figures of Speech)

SPOONERISMS (Figures of Speech)

Pity the Rev. Dr. William Archibald Spooner (1844-1930), an Oxford don (for more than sixty years!) who, in addition to being notoriously absent-minded, was also prone to switching around syllables in his speech, a gaffe that has come to be known as a "Spoonerism." They are often humorous, and since his time more such phrases have been attributed to Dr. Spooner than he could possibly have said. Here are some good ones (can you guess what they mean?)

  • "Three cheers for our queer old dean!" (to praise Queen Victoria)
  • "It is kisstomary to cuss the bride." (to a groom)
  • "Mardon me padam, this pie is occupewed. Can I sew you to another sheet?" (in church)
  • "The Lord is a shoving leopard." (in a sermon)
  • "You have hissed all my mystery lectures, and were caught fighting a liar in the quad. You have tasted the whole worm!" (to a student)


(Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons; CTTO)

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