spoonerism

[spoo-nuh-riz-uhm]
noun
the transposition of initial or other sounds of words, usually by accident, as in a blushing crow for a crushing blow.

Origin:
1895–1900; after W. A. Spooner (1844–1930), English clergyman noted for such slips; see -ism

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
spoonerism (ˈspuːnəˌrɪzəm)
 
n
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
 
[C20: named after W. A. Spooner (1844--1930), English clergyman renowned for slips of this kind]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

spoonerism
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 allusion 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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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

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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Example sentences
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.
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