The transposition of initial or other sounds of words, usually by accident, as in a blushing crow for a crushing blow. Spoonerisms were coined around 1900 by the Reverend William Archibald Spooner (1844-1930) a kindly but nervous educationalist and Anglican clergyman who worked as a cleric and scholar serving as Dean and Warden of Oxford's New College spanning a carrer of over forty years.
It is said he once addressed a group of farmers as "ye noble tons of soil," queried after a university official by asking "Is the bean dizzy?" and admonished a student because he had "tasted two worms" and "hissed all my mystery lectures."
Spoonerisms have been used by the American humorist Colonel Stoopnagel in My Tale is Twisted,(1946) and Little Slack Bamboo and comprise areas of James Joyce's technique in Finnegan's Wake. Feghoots are vignettes ending in puns which are frequently Spooneristic and Isaac Asimov did quite a few.
Spoonerisms are fairly easy to come up with, here are a few simple guidelines:
- First, you take the two sounds from the beginning of two different words/syllables. --funny bone
Next, interchange the two sounds to the other wordor syllable --bunny fone
When writing them, make sure to spell the resulting words correctly -- bunny phone
Finally, not all Spoonerisms will make sense; instead they may just sound strange or funny, often times a certain poetry can result.
More a slip of the tongue spoonerisms have phonetic resemblance to one another, as in slow and sneet (snow and sleet). They can also affect vowels, as in cuss and kiddle (kiss and cuddle), as well as, the final sounds of words and syllables: hass or grash (hash or grass). These spoonerisms give rise to evidence as to how speech is planned in the brain before uttered and also affect larger items, such as whole syllables and words: mouth in her food (food in her mouth), to gap the bridge (to bridge the gap).
- Cattle ships and bruisers = Battle ships and cruisers
Nosey little cook = Cosy little nook
A blushing crow = A crushing blow
Fighting a liar = Lighting a fire
You hissed my mystery lecture = You missed my history lecture
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?
Know your blows = Blow your nose
Go and shake a tower = Go and take a shower
Tease my ears = Ease my tears
Stop nicking your pose = Stop picking your nose
Lack of pies = Pack of lies
It's roaring with pain = It's pouring with rain
Sealing the hick = Healing the sick
Go help me sod = So help me God
Pit nicking = Nit picking
Disgusting bowel feast = Disgusting foul beast
I'm a damp stealer = I'm a stamp dealer
Hyperdemic nurdle = Hyperdermic needle
Wave the sails = Save the whales
I was chipping the flannel on the TV = I was flipping the channel on the TV
Mad bunny = Bad money
I'm shout of the hour = I'm out of the shower
Lead of spite = Speed of light
This is the pun fart = This is the fun part
I hit my bunny phone = I hit my funny bone
Flutter by = Butterfly
Bedding Wells = Wedding Bells
I must mend the sail = I must send the mail
Cop porn = Popcorn
It crawls through the fax = It falls through the cracks
My zips are lipped = My lips are zipped
Bat flattery = Flat battery
Would you like a nasal hut? = Would you like a hazel nut?
Belly jeans = Jelly beans
Eye ball = Bye all
Fight in your race = Right in your face
Ready as a stock = Steady as a rock
No tails = Toe nails
Hiss and lear = Listen here
back-asswords = ass backwards
mood fart = food mart
clot shock = shot clock
fire truck = friar tuck
sparking pot = parking spot
larking pot = parking lot
power surge = sower purge
word math = mad worth
word switch = sword witch
scout troop = trout scoop
foot prints = put fwints
dain bramage = brain damage
pull a rabbit out of a hat = habit out of a rat'
quick trip = trick quip