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If in referring to “jelly beans”, the phrase accidentally comes out as “belly jeans”, then a delightful Spoonerism has just occurred!

For those who have ever gotten their tongues tied or their syllables twisted so they ended up saying something very funny, this day is sure to garner a laugh. Spoonerism Day is a tongue-in-cheek celebration that offers a chance for silliness and plays on words to be brought into the forefront – whether on purpose or accidentally as a slip of the tongue.

History of Spoonerism Day

Spoonerism Day, sometimes simply called “Spooner’s Day”, is celebrated on the anniversary of the birth of Rev. Dr. William Archibald Spooner. This British clergyman as well as long-standing fellow and lecturer at Oxford University was well-known, even infamous, for being absentminded and getting his tongue twisted when speaking. He would so often mix up the syllables in a common phrase that it became comical to his students and parishioners – and he gained a reputation for it.

Spooner is famous for phrases such as “our queer old Dean” (instead of “our dear old Queen”) or “nosy little cook” (in lieu of “cosy little nook”). And though it is difficult now to tell which ones he actually said and which were simply assigned to him, the delight of Spoonerism Day is simply to acknowledge how fun the English language can be, especially when the words get all jumbled up!

But Spooner isn’t the only famous person who has done this. Many public speakers, television announcers and others have been recorded mixing up their words. One of the most famous examples was when radio announcer Harry Von Zell introduced new US president Herbert Hoover as “Hoobert Heever”.

How to Celebrate Spoonerism Day

Show some support for those whose verbiage is sometimes challenged and celebrate Spoonerism Day with some of these ideas and plans:

Enjoy Some Spoonerisms

Check out some of these silly twisted-up words and phrases for inspiration on Spoonerism Day:

  • Mardon me, padam (Pardon me, madam)
  • Will no one pat my hiccup? (Will no one pick my hat up?)
  • Please sew me to another sheet (Please show me to another seat)
  • Is it kisstomary to cuss the bride? (Is it customary to kiss the bride?)

Make Up Some Spoonerisms

Whether gathered around the table with the family at dinner time or grabbing a few friends and heading to a pub after work, Spoonerism Day is the perfect time for word-smiths to get creative and a bit silly! This kind of activity is especially fun with others who love word-play, so feel free to grab a friend who is like a walking dictionary.

Host a Linguistic Spoonerism Contest

Teachers, parents and even managers in certain industries (like publishing or greeting card writing) could get creative celebrating Spoonerism Day by engaging in some contests where participants provide their most ridiculous and delightful Spoonerisms. Foster a sense of joy and imagination as individuals are given opportunities to brainstorm, bouncing ideas off of each other and considering which are the best!

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