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Monday, July 22, 2013

Happy Spoonerism Day!

William Archibald Spooner
Today marks the birthday of Reverend William Archibald Spooner. He was born in London in 1844, and is especially remembered for the famous and often funny slip of the tongue named after him. A spoonerism was originally the accidental switch of the initial consonants or vowels of two or more words, but has also since become a popular wordplay game. Read more about Spoonerism Day at

Here are a few Spoonerisms:
"tons of soil" for "sons of toil"
"I'll sew you to your sheet" for "I'll show you to your seat"
"It is kisstomary to cuss the bride" for "It is customary to kiss the bride"

William Archibald Spooner studied at Oxford and became an Anglican priest. For decades he was a respected member of the faculty at Oxford, lecturing on Christianity, philosophy, and ancient history, but he is mostly remembered for unintentionally transposing letters or syllables as he spoke.

The term 'spoonerism' comes from Spooner's name, but actually,  spoonerisms were rare. His fame for such comments was fueled mostly by students at the college. These students amused each other by creating many intentional spoonerisms that were undoubtedly funnier than the Professor's occasional accidents. Read more at

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Do you have a favorite Spoonerism? Click on the word "Comment" below to share it with us. You may want to have your students make up a few of their own.

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