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William Archibald Spooner

  1. Sep 10, 2005 #1
    "Spooner was an albino, small, with a pink face, poor eyesight, and a head too large for his body. His reputation was that of a genial, kindly, hospitable man. He seems also to have been something of an absent-minded professor. He once invited a faculty member to tea "to welcome our new archaeology Fellow."
    "But, sir," the man replied, "I am our new archaeology Fellow."
    "Never mind," Spooner said, "Come all the same."
    After a Sunday service he turned back to the pulpit and informed his student audience: "In the sermon I have just preached, whenever I said Aristotle, I meant St. Paul."
    But Spooner was no featherbrain. In fact his mind was so nimble his tongue couldn't keep up. The Greeks had a word for this type of impediment long before Spooner was born: metathesis. It means the act of switching things around.
    Reverend Spooner's tendency to get words and sounds crossed up could happen at any time, but especially when he was agitated. He reprimanded one student for "fighting a liar in the quadrangle" and another who "hissed my mystery lecture." To the latter he added in disgust, "You have tasted two worms."
    Patriotic fervour excited Spooner as well. He raised his toast to Her Highness Victoria: "Three cheers for our queer old dean!" During WWI he reassured his students, "When our boys come home from France, we will have the hags flung out." And he lionised Britain's farmers as "noble tons of soil."
    His goofs at chapel were legendary. "Our Lord is a shoving leopard," he once intoned. He quoted 1 Corinthians 13:12 as, "For now we see through a dark, glassly..." Officiating at a wedding, he prompted a hesitant bridegroom, "Son, it is now kisstomary to cuss the bride." And to a stranger seated in the wrong place: "I believe you're occupewing my pie. May I sew you to another sheet?"
    Did Spooner really say, "Which of us has not felt in his heart a half-warmed fish?" he certainly could have; he was trying to say half-formed wish.
    Lederer offers these other authentic spoonerisms: At a naval review Spooner marvelled at "this vast display of cattle ships and bruisers." To a school official's secretary: "Is the bean dizzy?" Visiting a friend's country cottage: "You have a nosey little crook here."
    Two years before his death in 1930 at age 86, Spooner told an interviewer he could recall only one of his trademark fluffs. It was one he made announcing the hymn "Kinkering Congs Their Titles Take," meaning to say "Conquering Kings."
    So if you have made a verbal slip, rest easy. Many have. Radio announcer Harry Von Zell once introduced the president as Hoobert Heever. And Lowell Thomas presented British Minister Sir. Stafford Cripps as Sir. Stifford Craps.
    Thanks to Reverend Spooner's style-setting somersaults, our own little tips of the slung will not be looked upon as the embarrassing babblings of a nitwit, but rather the whimsical lapses of a nimble brain. So let us applaud that gentle man who lent his tame to the nerm. May sod rest his goal."

    Spoonerisms > History of spoonerisms
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 10, 2005 #2


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    That's great Zoob, thanks! I do that often myself. :redface:
  4. Sep 10, 2005 #3
    Remember any good ones?
  5. Sep 11, 2005 #4
    We hold these roots to be effervescent.
    {We hold these truths to be self-evident}

    I overheard a fellow student{way back when} say that, and it stayed with me all these years. I wonder if he had that disorder?
  6. Sep 11, 2005 #5
    It's not a disorder really, most people do it now and then, Spooner just did it more than most people and made it famous.

    My favorite is: "The Lord is a shoving leopard." I think I would have peed myself laughing if I'd been in that Church when he said it.
  7. Sep 11, 2005 #6
    I can't imagine being someone who speaks publicly for a living, being able to live with this. It would make me nuts, but I would of been first in line to join his classes. I bet he was brilliant.
  8. Sep 11, 2005 #7
    I don't get the impression he was much aware he was doing it, and was probably not bothered by it, himself.
  9. Sep 11, 2005 #8
    Ah.. so clever people planning drab occasions asked him to speak so as to add some levity? :tongue:
  10. Sep 12, 2005 #9
    I don't know, but you have to suspect that would have been a temptation. People do tit around and sinvent spoonerisms.
  11. Sep 12, 2005 #10


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    Zoob, you have very mad banners. This thread is nothing but a lack of pies ! None of this tit is shrew, and I'm not pit nicking. Moonerism is a sith ! That's all I'm sewing to gay, go help me sod.
  12. Sep 12, 2005 #11
    Spat's the Thirit!

    -ShoobyZoo (Flowling on the roar, affing my lass off.)
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2005
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