Spoonerisms are funny expressions created by a transposition of the first letters or sounds of two words. They can occur unintentionally by a slip of tongue or by deliberately turning words somersault for a funny effect. Spoonerism is also known by the name metathesis.

Origin of the word Spoonerism: The originator of this play with words was the great Rev. William A. Spooner (1844-1930) who was Warden of New College, Oxford University for more than two decades. His slips of tongue sometimes assumed hilarious dimensions. Once, during a church service, he announced that the next hymn to be sung would be, “Kinkering Kongs Their Titles Take”. What the preacher should have read was, “Conquering Kings Their Titles Take”. Many of the Spoonerisms ascribed to Dr. Spooner were actually invented by the students of his college.

Spoonerism in other languages: Spoonerisms also exist in other languages. For instance, a Malayalam news reader had the ill-fate to read ‘varanda kalavastha’ (dry weather) as ‘karanda valavastha’ (the state of a tail having been bitten off by a rat) in his weather forecast. Now get ready to enter this treasure house of truly inspired nonsense that Dr. Spooner and his admirers have left behind.

List of Spoonerisms in English

SpoonerismWhat Spooner Meant
A blushing crowA crushing blow
A lack of piesA pack of lies
A well-boiled icicleA well-oiled bicycle
As mean as custardAs keen as mustard
bedding wellswedding bells
belly jeansjelly beans
Clue of tubsTwo of Clubs
damp stealerstamp dealer
eye ballbye all
fight in your raceright in your face
Flock of batsBlock of flats
go help me sodso help me God
Hate of ArtsEight of Hearts
He shook a towerHe took a shower
Hen of tartsTen of Hearts
I am delighted to see you, looking as hairless and cappy as ever.careless and happy
I have been chewing the doors.doing the chores
I have in my bosom a half-warmed fish. (Spooner, in one of his speeches)half-formed wish
I have never before addressed so many tons of soil.sons of toil.
Is it kisstomary to cuss the bride?customary to kiss the bride?
Is the bean dizzy?Is the Dean busy?
It's roaring with pain.It's pouring with rain
know your blowsblow your nose
Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Eddie Playbody will now pee for you. (Spooner, introduing a stage performer)Mr. Eddie Peabody will now play
At the lead of spitespeed of light
mad bunnybad money
Many thinkle peep so.Many people think so.
Mardon me padom, you are occupewing my pie. May I sew you to another sheet?Pardon me madam, occupying my pew, show you to another seat
mend the sailsend the mail
My dear lady, will you please take me?make tea?
nicking your posepicking your nose
no tailstoe nails
Plaster manMaster plan
ready as a stocksteady as a rock
Sale of two tittiesTale of Two Cities
sealing the hickhealing the sick
shout of the hourout of the shower
Soap in your holeHope in your soul
Space of aidsAce of Spades
Tease my earsEase my tears
tease my earsease my tears
The Lord is a shoving leopardloving shepherd
The weight of rages will press hard upon the employerrate of wages
this is the pun fartfun part
This vast display of cattleships and bruisers.battleships and cruisers
Those girls are sin twisters.twin sisters
Three cheers for our queer old dean!dear old queen
wave the sailssave the whales
We'll have the hags flung out.flags hung out
Whore of fartsFour of Hearts
Will nobody pat my hiccup? (Spooner, when his hat fell down)pick up my hat
Would you like a nasal hut? (Spooner to a guest)hazel nut
You are a disgrace. You have hissed all my mystery lectures. You have, in fact, tasted a whole worm. Please leave Oxford on the next town drain. (Spooner to a lazy student)missed all my history lectures, wasted a whole term, down train
You have a nice cottage on a nosy little cook. (Spooner congratulating a friend)cosy little nook
You have very mad banners.bad manners.
You were fighting a liar in the quadrangle.lighting a fire
Coffee always weeps me a cakekeeps me awake
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