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spoonerism

[spoo-nuh-riz-uh m] /ˈspu nəˌrɪz əm/
noun
1.
the transposition of initial or other sounds of words, usually by accident, as in a blushing crow for a crushing blow.
Origin
1895-1900
1895-1900; after W. A. Spooner (1844-1930), English clergyman noted for such slips; see -ism
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for spoonerism
  • spoonerism is a result of an affliction causing the transposition of word elements, usually in speech.
  • He also transposes letters to create new words, and serves up the odd spoonerism.
British Dictionary definitions for spoonerism

spoonerism

/ˈspuːnəˌrɪzəm/
noun
1.
the transposition of the initial consonants or consonant clusters of a pair of words, often resulting in an amusing ambiguity of meaning, such as hush my brat for brush my hat
Word Origin
C20: named after W. A. Spooner (1844–1930), English clergyman renowned for slips of this kind
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for spoonerism
n.

1900, but perhaps as early as 1885, involuntary transposition of sounds in two or more words (cf. "a well-boiled icicle" for "a well-oiled bicycle;" "scoop of boy trouts" for "troop of Boy Scouts"), in reference to the Rev. William A. Spooner (1844-1930), warden of New College, Oxford, who was famous for such mistakes.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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spoonerism in Culture

spoonerism definition


A reversal of sounds in two words, with humorous effect. Spoonerisms were named after William Spooner, an English clergyman and scholar of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In one spoonerism attributed to him, he meant “May I show you to another seat?” but said, “May I sew you to another sheet?”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Difficulty index for spoonerism

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Word Value for spoonerism

0
17
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