When I was in my twearly enties, my frest bend and I would converse almost constantly in Spoonerisms, driving all our frother ends bompletely conkers.
William Archibald Spooner (1844-1930), the British clergyman and Oxford don after whom this type of transposition is named, had a tendency to reverse the first letters or other parts of words on a regular basis – a common error on his part it is thought, although I suspect the running cogue may have cultivated the proclivity deliberately as an ironic device. He is said, for instance, once to have described someone as a ‘shining wit’. Haven’t we all felt the need at some time for such a jeiled vibe?
Whether accidental or deliberate, it is a thoroughly entertaining form of clanger or word play:
Belly jeans – necessitated by a surfeit of jelly beans;
Squubble and beak – quite a crunchy dish;
Flutterbies – very descriptive of what they do;
‘The queer old dean’ – thought to have been uttered by Spooner himself when toasting Victoria;
Birthington’s Washday – occurs more than once a year, whether he needs it or not;
Rental deceptionist – a crooked estate agent, or dentist’s assistant whose charges make one feel like one’s paying rent;
Sin twisters – crime-busting female womb mates.
‘Is it kisstomary to cuss the bride?’ asked Spooner.
‘Resident Pagan’, an announcer once called President Reagan, quite inaccurately.
And can you imagine the hilarity that ensued the day we drove past a residence called Tudor Lodge?
Susan McKenna