Published: 22nd July 2021
#ThrowbackToday: The Oxford don who couldn't help but jumble words, giving us the term spoonerism
In today's #TBT, we introduce you to Rev William Archibald Spooner, a warden at New College, Oxford University who used to mix up words and oh, how hilarious it was for others and for even us now
He ventured to say, "the rate of wages,” but ended up saying, “The weight of rages will press hard upon the employer.”
In another instance, when he was referring to the hymn “Conquering Kings Their Titles Take”, he ended up saying, “The Kinquering Congs Their Titles Take”.
Who is this 'he'? And why was he pathologically mixing up his words? Born on July 22, 1844, it was Rev William Archibald Spooner, a warden at New College, Oxford University, who compulsively made such goof ups and it is from his surname 'Spooner' that the term spoonerism was derived! Now, what's that? Collins Dictionary describes it as 'a mistake made by a speaker in which the first sounds of two words are changed over, often with a humorous result'. We don't need to give you any examples here, do we? Mr Spooner has ensured that we have an abundance of those.
READ ALSO: #ThrowbackToday: When mercury hit absolute rock bottom at Vostok Station in Antarctica
Over the years, many word jumbles have been attributed to him, but he admitted to only a few of them. But that's beside the point, the long-serving Oxford don, who was also known for his absent-mindedness, indirectly gave us a term that we now give to all the word concoctions that end up tickling everyone's funny bones.