This term for interchanging parts of two different words in a phrase is named after the Reverend William Archibald Spooner (1844-1930), Dean and Warden of New College, Oxford. The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, 2nd edition (1953), attributed two famous spoonerisms to Dr Spooner: "Kinquering congs their titles take", and "You have deliberately tasted two worms and you can leave Oxford by the town drain." (The "down train" was the train going away from London, in this case through Oxford. Other popular attributions to Dr Spooner are: "a well boiled icicle"; "a blushing crow"; "a half-warmed fish"; "our shoving leopard"; "our queer old Dean"; "You hissed my mystery lectures"; "My boy, it's kisstomary to cuss the bride"; "Take this in aid of Oxford's beery wenches"; "When the boys come home from France, we'll have hags flung out"; "Pardon me, madam, you are occupewing my pie. May I sew you to another sheet?"; and "Have you any signifying glasses? Oh well, it really doesn't magnify.") But after the publication of _Spooner: A Biography_ by Sir William Hayter (W. H. Allen, 1976, ISBN 0-491-01658-1), the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, 3rd edition (1979), gives only one spoonerism ("weight of rages"), and says: "Many other Spoonerisms, such as those given in the previous editions of O.D.Q., are now known to be apocryphal." The OED says the word "spoonerism" was "known in colloquial use in Oxford from about 1885." In his diary entry of 9 May 1904, Spooner wrote that someone he met at dinner "seemed to think he owed me some gratitude for the many 'Spoonerisms' which I suppose have appeared in Tit Bits." One of the undergraduates who attested "weight of rages" commented: "Well, I've been up for four years, and never heard the Spoo make a spoonerism before, and now he makes a damned rotten one at the last minute."
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