When someone mixes up the beginnings of two or more words (usually on accident), the result is called a spoonerism. The term comes from the name of William A. Spooner (1844-1930), an English clergyman and educator, famous for all of his spoonerisms.
When I was a little girl, up until the age of ten or so, I always called window sills "sindow wills". Even when people corrected me, I insisted that I had said it the right way. (I think now that I was confusing the words with "spindle wheel", from one of my favorite Disney films, Sleeping Beauty.) I still catch myself about to say it as an adult!
Here are a few other examples of spoonerisms:
- a lack of pies...instead of a pack of lies
- chew your doors...instead of do your chores
- plaster man... instead of master plan
- go shake a tower... instead of go take a shower
While spoonerisms are often accidental, sometimes people say (or write) them on purpose, usually for laughs. Shel Silverstein even wrote an entire story out of spoonerisms called Runny Babbit, a very silly book! (Or should I say billy sook?)
Have you ever accidentally made a spoonerism? Have you ever made one on purpose? If so, I would love to hear them -- please share! :)