An albino with a pinkish face and an appearance described as "rabbit-like," Reverend Dr. William Archibald Spooner
was an Oxford don and priest of the Church of England
. For decades he was a respected member of the faculty at Oxford, lecturing on Christianity, philosophy, and ancient history, but he is mostly remembered for unintentionally transposing letters or syllables as he spoke (e.g., "It is kisstomary to cuss the bride" or "You have hissed all my mystery lectures"). Almost 165 years after his birth (on 22 July 1844), the details of his life are no longer common knowledge, but the nature of his mis-spoken words is remembered
. A spoonerism
is an error in speech or deliberate play on words in which corresponding consonants, vowels, or morphemes are switched. Such wordplay, intentional or otherwise, has a history beyond the good Reverend Doctor
, but he is alone in his fame. Having trouble creating bitty wanter of your own? Fablebish
to the rescue.
posted by filthy light thief
on Jul 21, 2009 -
od y peqgwtmeyguop ptfafieav of luopu owd yawute lokk dlowpu y dqvntk of y dweofm tx lteid xte yf yfyktmtad dqvntk, yfi qta vadw lter taw owd teomofyk dyqofm. Uodwteopykkq, Dgyewyf vokowyeq ptvvafopywotfd
ioi kyq metafilter, te yw vofovav ypw yd yf ofowoyk dutlofm tx peqgwtmeyvd, yfi gtkowopyk yggkopywotfd nq Etvyfd
ioi xtkktl. Ftl, y peqgwtmeyv od, xte vyfq, y gtgakye utnnq
. Yf yggetypu wt y dtkawotf pyf waef taw nydop, dapu yd kttrofm xte dutew lteid
, te ioxxopakw--peqgwyfykqdod, adofm cayfwowq tx ofiojoiayk dqvntkd
. Getmeyvd pyf ykdt yddodw
, ox y peqgwtmeyv weakq ptfxtafid qta. Y ltei tx lyefofm, wutamu--peqgwtmeyvd pyf eaf ag ymyofdw domfoxopyfw ptvgkopywotfd ox netamuw ag ymyofdw y kogtmeyv
, luopu od y xtev tx lteigkyq of luopu y gyewopakye dqvntk od ktdw xetv y gyeymeygu tx leowofm. Te, ox y gyeymeygu od wtt voki, y nttr tx xoxwq wutadyfi lteid
. (Y jykoyfw iodgkyq tx vydtpuodv.) Y dyvgkofm tx geote yew
posted by Upton O'Good
on Mar 27, 2008 -
Roz Chast, noted New Yorker cartoonist with a penchant for sly wordplay, interviewed
by Steve Martin. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye
on Dec 18, 2006 -
- did you know Honorificabilitudinitatibus, 27 letters long, is the longest English word consisting strictly of alternating consonants and vowels? You do now. Click the link for more fun facts about words.
posted by Orange Goblin
on Nov 25, 2003 -
Puzzle that makes you weep softly and twitch.
Cryptic crosswords are mostly unappreciated on US shores, but those who have learned to seek them out
have struck upon perhaps the best wordplay puzzles ever
. Instead of rewarding a solver's grasp of trivia, cryptics
are truly a battle of wits in which each clue is a riddle that plays by a few simple rules
. Part of the riddle is a straight definition of the final word; the rest is subtly disguised wordplay. It's hard to know just why these haven't caught on it may be that the most readily available ones, such as those in Harper's or The Atlantic
, are extra-tricky affairs that cater toward expert solvers. But online, there are plenty of puzzles suitable for those interested in giving cryptics a whirl, including this gem
, written for a 12-year-old audience.
posted by blueshammer
on Jan 27, 2003 -
What did John F. Kennedy, Oscar Wilde, William Shakespeare, Benjamin Franklin, Dr. Samuel Johnson, and Confucius all have in common? They were masters of chiasmus
. If you've ever been amused by the simple but elegant word play in sentences like "I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy, or "It's not the men in my life, it's the life in my men", then you appreciate a good chiasmus when you hear one. via the always interesting bragadocchio
posted by iconomy
on Jan 21, 2003 -
Stop what you're doing and go here now!
It's an online anagram maker, put in your whole name, and set the word length as high as you can. At 3 letters per word the letters 'MatthewHaughey' spell out hundreds of phrases
, the best shown below (punctuation by me):
Why hate? hug mate!
Heat may wet Hugh?
Eat Wham, they hug.
They wag meat, huh?
posted by mathowie
on Sep 16, 1999 -