Reverend Spooner

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The Reverend William Archibald Spooner (1844-1930), as Warden of New College, Oxford University UK, became well known for his proclivity for transposing the initial sounds of words in a phrase, thereby completely changing the meaning of that phrase; often in a ludicrous way. E.g. "Loving shepherd" became "shoving leopard". These have become known as "spoonerisms"; a word first recorded in 1900, but probably used colloquially in Oxford before then.


  • Brewer's Dictionary of Modern Phrase and Fable