Definition of spoonerism in English:


Line breaks: spoon¦er|ism
Pronunciation: /ˈspuːnərɪz(ə)m


  • A verbal error in which a speaker accidentally transposes the initial sounds or letters of two or more words, often to humorous effect, as in the sentence you have hissed the mystery lectures.
    More example sentences
    • The best-known of these are the sound transpositions called spoonerisms.
    • Malapropisms and spoonerisms add colour to language.
    • They speak in spoonerisms and malapropisms and put forward bizarre concepts and beliefs.


early 20th century: named after the Revd W. A. Spooner (1844–1930), an English scholar who reputedly made such errors in speaking.

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