Definition of spoonerism
: a transposition of usually initial sounds of two or more words (as in tons of soil for sons of toil)
spoonerism was our Word of the Day on 07/30/2012. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of spoonerism in a Sentence
the spoonerism “tons of soil” for “sons of toil”
Did You Know?
Poor William Archibald Spooner! That British clergyman and educator, who lived from 1844 to 1930, often had to speak in public, but he was a nervous man and his tongue frequently got tangled up. He would say things like "a blushing crow" when he meant "a crushing blow." Spooner's letter reversals became the stuff of legend-and undoubtedly gave his listeners many a laugh. By1900 his name had inspired the term spoonerism, which lives on to this day.
Origin and Etymology of spoonerism
William A. Spooner †1930 English clergyman & educator
First Known Use: 1892See Words from the same year
SPOONERISM Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of spoonerism for English Language Learners
: a humorous mistake in which a speaker switches the first sounds of two or more words
Seen and Heard
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