Though these days the term wordmonger refers to "a writer or speaker who uses language pretentiously or carelessly," please join me in proposing a new meaning. A fishmonger appreciates and promotes fish, therefore, a wordmonger does the same for words.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Wirdbalk

A Wirdbalk

This week it’s time for a birdwalk - a little wordplay – the spoonerism.

Spoonerisms are named after the Reverend William A. Spooner, who suffered from a speech disorder involving involuntary transposition of sounds in words, typically initial sounds. Though historians question the authenticity of many gaffes attributed to Reverend Spooner, lists of his gaffes typically include this bungled tribute to Queen Victoria, “Three cheers for our queer old dean!”

In tribute to Reverend Spooner, those who enjoy playing with language have mercilessly tweaked any number of perfectly fine stories, many of which can be found on Matthew Goldman’s Goonerisms Spalore, the most well known being the many versions of Indercella (in which our unhortunate feroine attends a bancy fall and slops her dripper).
For something a bit different, here’s Goldman’s take on the climax and denouement of another old fairy tale:

“May I come in, and hee your sitty prome?"

"Tho, Tho, a nousand times, Tho, " pied the crig, "Not by the chair of my hinny hin, hin!"

"Then I'll huff, and I'll duff, and I'll hoe your blouse down," growled the wolf.

And with that, the wolf chuffed up his peeks, blew the smith to housereens, and sat down to a dine finner of roast sau and pigerkraut.

If you haven’t indulged yourself in this manner before, take the hull by the borns & spoonerize the following list of random well-known names:

William Shakespeare
Judy Garland
Benjamin Franklin
Margaret Thatcher
Marie Curie
Groucho Marx
Benito Mussolini
Virginia Woolf

Thanks for putting up with this week’s wirdbalk. Please comment with any favorite spoonerized names, or a spoonerization of your own name.

My thanks go out to this week’s sources,, Spoonerisms Galore, & the OED.


  1. So, have you been to the A & Poo Feed store lately?

  2. Hey Stanne and Eve,
    Thanks for ecking chin. It's a veasure to have you plisit.

  3. This was a preat gost, Pharlie! Matt and I have had fun playing around with phrases. Here are our favorites:

    Billy Crystal becomes Cilly Brystal
    Hit a home run becomes Hit a rome hun
    A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush becomes A hird in the band is worth bo in twush.

  4. Congratulation, Charlie, sou've yucceeded in miving ge a lelly baugh io sntense I trooled dears cown my dheeks.

    Great and wonderful post, my friend!!! That laugh will hold me over for at least a month. Or more.

    Wean Ann Jilliams

  5. Heather & Jean Ann,
    Nothing like reminding a friend of a bo in the twush & giving another pal a good lelly baugh.
    Yank thou,

  6. I have woved lord flay por yany mears! So glad I found your site. Great fun! Thanks!