Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Malapropisms, Mondegreens & Spoonerisms

Last August, my brother Stan on his blog "The English Cowpath" posted on Malapropisms, Mondegreens & Spoonerisms. He does a nice job of defining them and provides a few examples.

He added a note about a week ago that Word-a-day just did a week on these funny word errors.
Here is the end of the week compilation:
and an extra to publish all the mail they got that week 

The tears were streaming down my face and Tanya demanded to know what was so funny.  Some things just don't translate.

Here are a few examples but best read the sites yourself and get all the benefit.

The best use of spoonerisms occurred in the British parliament. The speaker of one party complimented one of the other saying "I yield to the gentleman as a 'shining wit'." And then apologized for making a spoonerism.
-Martin Litke, MD, Newport Beach, California (litke.martin

A friend, wishing to celebrate his divorce, suggested that we go to the saloon for a beverage. I suggested that if he wanted decoration for the party he might consider a balloon for the severage.
-Tromboniator (via Wordsmith Talk online forum)

While working in Moscow some years ago, several of us overheard a colleague complaining about Russian: "I just can't get a handle on this acrylic alphabet."
-Hilary Evans, Ottawa, Canada (hil666evans

A friend of mine was ill and needed to get a biopsy done. Her husband upon hearing this asked her a bit later when the autopsy would take place so he could go with her! Her reply: "Not quite yet dear."
-Margriet Hecht, Portland, Oregon (mihecht

I overheard a guy who had just driven across country say that "The car was loaded to the tilt."
-Harry Bower, San Francisco, California (fluteoftheroom

I am hearing-impaired and have a telephone with closed captioning on a screen. In a recent phone conversation, this wonderful mondegreen came across. My friend was describing the preparation of a drink and she said, "throw out the pulp and keep the juice." But the CC read, "Throw out the Pope and keep the Jews." Those closed captioning fellas have a pretty vivid imagination!
-Dean M. Laux, Englewood, Florida (dlaux6

A pianist was playing at a function in a private home and really needed a bathroom break. One of the guests asked him about the piece he had just played and instead of replying "this is a very difficult piece to play", he said, "This is a very difficult place to pee."
-Anne Lusby, Brockville, Canada (alusby

My all-time favorite: From a breathlessly excited radio broadcaster announcing the disembarking of the Royal Windsors in New York, "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Duck and Doochess of Windsor!"
-Paul Wessen, San Jose, Costa Rica (pwessen

My mother once said (after her second glass of sherry), "After Papa has retired we're going to fix up the world and take a trip around the house."
-Nina Garrett, Old Saybroook, Connecticut (cornebg


  1. My grandmother use to tell me when I was young, that a gentleman always walks next to the road when escorting a lady so he can beat off the horses. She never understood when I giggled.

    the Ol'Buzzared

  2. One of the best examples of spoonerisms is "Rindercella" by Archie Campbell.

    Don't forget to slop your dripper!!

  3. I memorized it the first time I heard it on the radio and would entertain folks with it but never knew it as spoonerisms but you are right that is what it is. I'm adding it to the post. thanks.


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