Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A transposition of sounds of two or more words, especially a ludicrous one, such as Let me sew you to your sheet for Let me show you to your seat.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A play on words on a phrase in which the initial (usually consonantal) sounds of two or more of the main words are transposed.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun transposition of initial consonants in a pair of words

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[After William Archibald Spooner, (1844–1930), British cleric and scholar.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Named after the Reverend W. A. Spooner (1844-1930), who is supposed to have habitually made such slip-ups.

Examples

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  • ...I ever heard, was when a friend was reading a copy of "Mother Earth News" magazine and, turning to relate something interesting, instead called the magazine "Mother Nerth Ewws".

    June 26, 2007

  • a googol of geese

    January 30, 2008

  • a cunning stunt

    June 21, 2008

  • A shining wit.

    June 21, 2008

  • I heard these attributed to the Rev. Spooner himself:

    "The Lord is a shoving leopard to his flock."

    and something about the pleasures of riding a well-boiled icicle.

    June 21, 2008

  • I understand the good Reverend once complained of addressing beery wenches each Sunday morning.

    June 21, 2008

  • someone I worked with once referred to "the whole matching shoot"

    July 24, 2008

  • Q What is the difference between a sandpiper and a baby?

    A A sandpiper flits along the shore.

    August 18, 2008

  • Q What is the difference between a chorus-girl and a tramp?

    A A chorus-girl has natty knickers.

    (Probably only meaningful to British English speakers).

    August 18, 2008

  • It's very hard to fight a liar in roaring pain.

    March 25, 2009