SPOONERISMS are named after the Reverend W. A. Spooner (1844-1930) who was Dean and Warden of New College in Oxford, England. He is reputed to have made these verbal slips frequently.
What is a spoonerism?
Spoonerisms are phrases, sentences, or words in language with sounds swapped. Usually this is done by accident, particularly if you're speaking fast. Come and wook out of the lindow is an example.
Of course, there are many millions of possible spoonerisms, but those which are of most interest - mainly for their amusement value - are the ones in which the spoonerism makes sense as well as the original phrase. Go and shake a tower and a well-boiled icicle illustrate this well (go and take a shower, well-oiled bicycle).
Since spoonerisms are a
phonetic transposition, it is not so much the letters which are swapped
as the sounds themselves. Transposing initial consonants in the speed of
light gives the leed of spight which is clearly meaningless when
written, but phonetically it becomes the lead of spite.
Generally spoonerisms which are produced accidentally are transpositions between words which resemble one another phonetically, such as cuss and kiddle and slow and sneet (kiss and cuddle, snow and sleet).
Fighting a liar lighting a fire
You hissed my mystery lecture you missed my history lecture
Cattle ships and bruisers battle ships and cruisers
Nosey little crook cosy little nook
A blushing crow a crushing blow
Tons of soil sons of toil
Our queer old Dean our dear old Queen
We'll have the hags flung out we'll have the flags hung out
You've tasted two worms you've wasted two terms
Our shoving leopard our loving shepherd
A half-warmed fish a half-formed wish
Is the bean dizzy? is
the Dean busy?