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A spoonerism is a word or phrase in which letters or syllables have been transposed accidentally. The result is usually a change in meaning, often quite amusing. Spoonerisms were named after the Reverend William Archibald Spooner (1844-1930) who served as Dean and Warden of New College in Oxford, England. He is reputed to have been a kind, but nervous, Anglican clergyman, who often made such verbal slips.

Here are a few examples of spoonerisms:

Hissed my mystery lecture
(Missed my history lecture)

You have tasted two worms
(You have wasted two terms)

Three cheers for our queer old dean
(Three cheers for our dear old queen)

Our Lord is a shoving leopard
(Our Lord is a loving shepherd)

This is a nosey little crook
(This is a cozy little nook)

A well-boiled icicle
(A well-oiled bicycle)

Is the bean dizzy?
(Is the dean busy?)

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