Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spoonerism

No ... this post is not about spoon addictions ... nor is it about the fact that, in my house, spoons are always the first to be cleared out of the utensil drawer. We often have to run a load of dishes just to replenish the spoon supply ... and the bowls ... but that's a whole other post.

I love Dictionary.com. Since I never made it through the entire dictionary (I did try, in my grade school days ... but only made it to the third page of the As!), I subscribe to its Word of the Day e-mails in the hopes of enlightening myself with lots of new and fascinating words ... not always words that can be used in picture books ... but informative nonetheless!

Like today's word ... thaumaturgy (THAW-muh-tuhr-jee) ... a noun meaning "The performance of miracles or magic." Who knew?!

Well ... maybe you knew that ... but I didn't.

And, yesterday's word ... I had no idea a word existed for the phenomena that always seems to happen when you're speaking to a large group of people ... you know, when you flip-flop the first sounds or letters of a pair of words in a sentence, and end up saying something that sounds like gibberish?!

It's called spoonerism (SPOO-nuh-riz-uhm), a noun that means "The transposition of usually initial sounds in a pair of words."

Please tell me I'm not the only person who was not aware there was an actual word for this affliction!

Apparently (I thought this was fascinating), it hails from the Rev. William Archibald Spooner, who was a very kind but nervous clergyman and educator who committed this little flip-flopping of sounds quite a bit ... enough to get a word placed in the dictionary as a result!

Some of his examples included ...
"We all know what it is to have a half-warmed fish ["half-formed wish"] inside us."
"It is kisstomary to cuss ["customary to kiss"] the bride."

So, thank you Dictionary.com, for enlightening me, once again, to all those words out there that I had no idea even existed! It certainly helps with the goal to "learn something new every day"!

20 comments:

beth said...

HAHA! Thanks for sharing.

Solvang Sherrie said...

That's hilarious!

I do that sort of thing all the time and then my kids always ask why I just said what I said. Spoonerism. I'll have to remember that...I'm not the only one!

The Things We Carried said...

I had NO idea, I hate to admit!

Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

I didn't know it either.

lotusgirl said...

My mouth does those all the time. My kids love it when they happen. I had no idea that the word came from a clergyman.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Ha! That's great!
When my daughter was first learning to talk, she used to switch sounds in funny ways. Stop became Pots. I wonder what they call that?

Our spoons are the first to go too. I think it's the ice cream's fault.

PJ Hoover said...

I love cool words! And knowing the origin is even better!
Thanks!

Kelly said...

I did not know that either! I want to get that word a day!!

CC said...

Yep, I had heard of that before, but had forgotten. It was probably discussed in my speech classes once upon a time...

CariJ said...

Excellent! I'm a huge fan of "Word of the Day" and Dictionary.com. The writer in me loves words and the dork in me mixes them up all the time! Perfect post. :-)

Kelly H-Y said...

Beth! You're welcome ... I got such a kick out of it!

Sherrie! Now you can just tell your kids you're practicing 'spoonerism'! Too funny!

Meredith and Jennifer - So glad I'm not alone!

Lois! I've definitely had my share as well!

Rebecca! So cute about your daughter. And, YES ... I think you're on to something ... it's probably the ice cream for us too ... and that explains both the spoons AND the bowls! :-)

Kelly H-Y said...

PJ! I agree ... I love learning the origin ... especially when it's an interesting story like this one!

Kelly! Go to Dictionary.com and sign up for the Word of the Day ... very cool! :-)

CC - WOW ... you'd heard of it!? I'm impressed!

Cari! Too funny ... love it ... though, I have to say ... you're NOT a dork! :-)

Tabitha said...

I love Dictionary.com too! I go there for all my wordy needs. :)

Kelly H-Y said...

Tabitha! Isn't it so helpful?! I love it! Thanks for stopping by!

PurpleClover said...

Well as a "Spooner" then I must say I do this quite often with my friends and fam. For instance if its Justin and Maggie I'll say Mustin and Jaggie. :) And its not on purpose! lol.

Kelly H-Y said...

Purple ... a 'spooner' ... I love it! So true ... I do that with names too. My kids got quite the kick out of it after I did it to their names once (I think it was as we were RUSHING to get out the door in the morning!)!

Shelli said...

hey new design? learn somethign new everyday

The Girl From Cherry Blossom Street said...

I learned a new word!
There is this pastry shop here called Red Ribbon. We always end up saying Red Robin. Is that spoonerism? mmm..i think so...

Thank you for very much for visiting my blog and for that very nice comment on my photo.

david mcmahon said...

I think he once said: ``You have tasted two worms'' instead of ``wasted two terms'' ....

Kelly H-Y said...

TGFCBS! Thanks so much for stopping by! Oh my ... I would totally do the same thing, and constantly call it Red Robin! Too funny!

David - That's a good one!