Further Antedating of "Spoonerism"

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Thu Dec 26 10:50:36 UTC 2013

Slightly earlier: April 27, 1892, The Oxford Magazine, vol. X, no. 17, p. 303, col. 2:
....that fascinating form of fooling which consists in inverting the terminations or beginnings of words....Although this is a topic which Aristotle might be supposed to have exhausted in his treatise on the Apparently Humorous....life is hard enough without "Spoonerisms."


Stephen Goranson
From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of Shapiro, Fred [fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU]
Sent: Wednesday, December 25, 2013 7:59 AM
Subject: [ADS-L] Further Antedating of "Spoonerism"

spoonerism (OED 1900)

1892 _Sheffield Daily Telegraph_ 21 Oct. 8 (British Newspapers 1600-1950)  The statement that Mr. Spooner, Dean of New College, Oxford, asked his newsagent the other day for a copy of the "Leading Mourner," reminds "Morning Leader" of other Spoonerisms said to have been perpetrated by the same remarkable man.  Observing a Freshman in his seat at chapel, Mr. Spooner politely but firmly remarked, "Excuse me, but you are occupewing my pie."  One other story known to most Oxford men is that Mr. Spooner, trying to ingratiate himself with a fluffy, long-haired dog, was seen to hold a biscuit to the animal's tail.  The owner of the animal waited a few moments, and then said, "Suppose you try the other end, Mr. Spooner."

Fred Shapiro

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