Share this entry

Share this page

spoonerism

Syllabification: spoon·er·ism
Pronunciation: /ˈspo͞onəˌrizəm
 
/

Definition of spoonerism in English:

noun

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, accidentally spoken instead of the intended sentence you have missed the history lectures.
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.

Origin

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

Definition of spoonerism in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day peart
Pronunciation: pərt
adjective
lively; cheerful