A spoonerism is a speech error in which the speaker switches the initial consonants of two consecutive words. If you say "bunny phone" instead of "funny bone," you've uttered a spoonerism.

"Jelly beans" becomes "belly jeans." "Son, it is now kisstumary to cuss the bride." You get the idea. We owe the invention of the spoonerism, or at least its great fame, to a nineteenth-century English reverend named Archibald Spooner, who was famous for mixing up his words. The first two examples above, by the way, are modern spoonerisms. The last? A 100% genuine original spoonerism.

Definitions of spoonerism
  1. noun
    transposition of initial consonants in a pair of words
    see moresee less
    type of:
    slip of the tongue
    an accidental and usually trivial mistake in speaking
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week