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the transposition of initial or other sounds of words, usually by accident, as in a blushing crow for a crushing blow.
Spoonerisms, often hilarious, are named after the 19th-century Anglican clergyman William Archibald Spooner, warden of New College, Oxford University. The Reverend Spooner himself claimed as his only spoonerism “The Kinquering Congs Their Titles Take” (1879), a mangling of the name of the hymn “The Conquering Kings Their Titles Take.” In American English the most famous spoonerism must be the one made by the old-time radio announcer Harry von Zell, who in a live broadcast in 1931 announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States, Hoobert Heever.” Spoonerism entered English about 1900.
Spoonerisms are the comfortable shoes of slips of the tongue: when it comes time to illustrate the universality speech errors, they’re so familiar and broken in, they always get a laugh.
Other words the BFG coins are from errors. For example, in spoonerisms snapperwhipper, dory-hunky and catasterous disastrophe, the initial syllables have been swapped.
verb (used with object)
to eat quickly and voraciously; scarf (often followed by down or up).
Snarf, “to eat greedily or voraciously,” is a slang word, originally American, and like many if not most slang terms, it has an obscure etymology. Some authorities claim snarf to be a variant of scarf “to eat greedily,” or a combination of the verbs snort and scarf. Snarf is just as likely to be onomatopoeic, as of the sound of pigs feeding at a trough. Snarf entered English in the late 1960s.
“My kids snarf these like candy,” he said.
We don’t just snarf down the Hershey bars and gummy bears directly from the bag. We pour ourselves a glass of wine as well ….
a good deed or favor; an instance of kindness: benignities born of selfless devotion.
Benignity comes via Old and Middle French from the Latin noun benignitās (inflectional stem benignitāt-) “kindness, graciousness, friendliness,” a derivative of the adjective benignus “kind, gracious, benign.” Benignus is composed of the adverb bene “well, neatly, rightly” (from the adjective bonus “good”) and –gnus, a suffix derived from the base of the verb gignere “to beget” (the sense is “good by nature, naturally good”; consider its English opposite, malign). Benignity entered English in the second half of the 14th century.
… there are young men and maidens pacing to and fro beside me, and to them the moon is only one of the innumerable benignities with which nature smiles on youth and love.
with a thousand generous benignities she stifled my ‘no’s,’ … and all I had breath to say at last, was, that ‘there was time enough for plans of that kind.’