Playing with spoonerisms


Spoonerisms are slips of the tongue. They happen when we mix up the first letters of words in a statement and the result uses real words. For example, when I was aged about 8 (that's over 65 years ago), I told my mother, "I'm going to sheen my clues". I meant to say, "I'm going to clean my shoes".

Spoonerisms are named after Dr Spooner (18441930), He was a real person. He had a way of mixing up his words by swapping first letters. For instance:

He referred to "the queer old Dean" instead of "the dear old Queen".

He "boiled his icicle", instead of "oiled his bicycle".

He told his students "you have hissed my mystery lectures" instead of "you have missed my history lectures".

People sometimes utter spoonerisms by accident. You can also make up spoonerisms for fun. You can do this by:

Swapping the initial consonants of two words.

Swapping the initial consonants of more than two words in a phrase.

Swapping the prefix (first part) of two or more words.

When the letters are swapped, you can change them so that they produce the same sound, for example:

oiled bicycle can become boiled icicle

neat bat can become beat gnat.

Here are some more. Can you create some better examples? Have a go!

tea bag bee tag

brave cat cave brat

as keen as mustard as mean as custard

haul someone over the coals call someone over the holes

the flight of bees the bite of fleas

boil the spuds spoil the buds

brush my hat hush my brat

main road rain mode

junk mail monk jail

parrot cage carrot page

first name nursed fame

bold feat fold beet

bank loans lank bones

mum and dad dumb and mad

have a steaming drink have a dreaming stink

double bed bubble dead

like a ton of bricks like a bun of tricks

a bird in the hand a herd in the band

pouring with rain roaring with pain

a rabbit out of a hat a habit out of a rat

burn the midnight oil earn the midnight boil

never say die sever day nigh

bite the hand that feeds you fight the band that heeds you

as scary as a blue-tongued lizard as scary as a two-lunged blizzard

discover and remember a friend recover and dismember a friend

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