17th July 2024

Spoonerism or switching letters in speech


Spoonerism is a verbal mistake in which the speaker unintentionally switches the first sounds of two or more words often producing humorous results. The noun ‘spoonerism’ was formed after William Archibald Spooner, a highly respected university don in England. Spooner was known to be very absent-minded and he often transposed the letters of two words accidentally. One example of spoonerism is, ‘weight of rages’ instead of ‘rate of wages’. Other examples include ‘a blushing crow’ (a crushing blow), ‘a well-boiled icicle’ (a well-oiled bicycle) and ‘a lack of pies’ (a pack of lies).

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