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spoonerism

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

1895–1900; after W. A. Spooner (1844–1930), English clergyman noted for such slips; see -ism
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for spoonerism

spoonerism

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
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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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

spoonerism in Culture

spoonerism

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?”

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.