The best Spoonerisms

July 23, 2014 at 7:12 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Reverend William Spooner was born in London 170 years ago. On his anniversary, we honour his unintentional comic interchange of sounds, known as spoonerisms

The Reverend William Archibald Spooner was born in London on July 22, 1844. He was an albino and suffered defective eyesight, and it is thought that this caused some of his verbal confusions which were later dubbed “spoonerisms”. These included “it is kisstomary to cuss the bride”.

Spooner, who died on August 29, 1930, was an Anglican priest and scholar. He studied at New College, Oxford, before lecturing there for 60 years, in history, philosophy and divinity.

He was apparently an amiable, kind and hospitable man, though absent-minded. He also had a keen intellect, which is where his problems began. His tongue barely kept up with his thought processes, resulting in an unintentional interchange of sounds, producing a phrase with a meaning entirely different from the one intended. That is what is now called a spoonerism. The more agitated the good Reverend became, the more acute the manifestation of sound switching. There are a number of well substantiated oddities of a more subtle kind: “Was it you or your brother who was killed in the Great War?”

* Calling a famous Irish play “The Ploughboy of the Western World. [Playboy of the Westerrn world]

* At a wedding: “It is kisstomary to cuss the bride.”

* “Blushing crow” for “crushing blow.”

* “The Lord is a shoving leopard” (Loving shepherd).

* “A well-boiled icicle” for “well-oiled bicycle.”

* “I have in my bosom a half-warmed fish” (for half-formed wish), supposedly said in a speech to Queen Victoria.

* A toast to “our queer old dean” instead of to “our dear old Queen.”

* Upon dropping his hat: “Will nobody pat my hiccup?”

* “Go and shake a tower” (Go and take a shower).

* Paying a visit to a college official: “Is the bean dizzy?”

* “You will leave by the town drain.” (Down train)

* When our boys come home from France, we will have the hags flung out.

* “Such Bulgarians should be vanished…” (Such vulgarians should be banished).

* Addressing farmers as “ye noble tons of soil”.

* “You have tasted a whole worm” (to a lazy student).

* “The weight of rages will press hard upon the employer.”

* And, the classic: “Mardon me padom, you are occupewing my pie. May I sew you to another sheet?”

Original story here




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Shop owner survives knife through the heart: “IT expert Luo Yong was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery after being stabbed in the heart in Nanchang, China. This shocking X-ray shows just how fortunate a shop owner is to be alive after being stabbed at the bottom of his heart. Luo Yong, 31, was working at his computer repair shop in Nanchang, China, when a knifeman started attacking people at random. The victim was rushed to hospital with the 20cm blade still in his chest where he underwent emergency surgery. Surgeons managed to repair the damage to Mr Yong’s heart and he is currently recovering in hospital. It is unclear if the knifeman has been arrested.

Grandparents told they owe power company £500m (which also informed them their monthly direct debit would be increasing from £87 to £53m): “A couple were told their monthly electricity payments would be increasing from £87 to £53.5million after a computer error led to a power company sending them a £500million bill. The problem arose when the couple’s previous supplier, Scottish Power, installed a new meter at their 16th century home in the village of Roughlee, near Burnley, Lancashire. Their electrician connected one of the wires the wrong way round, so that instead of recording the number of units used it didn’t register any and continued showing zero. Mr Brotherton, 62, and his wife, 59, did not notice the problem as they paid their bill by direct debit each month and were never asked to give a reading. However, after they switched suppliers to npower in May, a workman was sent round to read their meter. When he entered a reading of ‘zero’, npower’s computer wrongly assumed the dials must have gone all round the clock – and automatically flagged up the huge bill. A spokesman for npower apologised yesterday and said: ‘This was clearly a mistake.”

Confused cat scratches mirror and ‘attacks’ its own reflection after mistaking it for a rival pet: “An alarmed cat gets its claws out as it comes face-to-face with its own reflection in a comical home video. Footage shows the confused feline catching a glimpse of itself in a long floor mirror before springing up on its back legs. It then goes about scratching the image it can see in the looking glass with its eyes manically open wide. High-pitched sounds can be heard as the tabby continues to paw away at the shiny surface. It keeps going for around 40 seconds before being distracted by a shelf nearby. The proud pet owner says his cat performs the same stunt every time he brings the mirror out.”

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.


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