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Tracey: His name's Bill Steel and he's late thirties and he looks like that newsreader with the twinkly eyes.
Sharon: Moira Stuart?
Tracey: Michael Prat, you berk. (Beat) I mean "Buerk, you prat".

Do you like to eat parrots and keys? Oops! Seems we just made an example of a Spoonerism using "carrots and peas"!

Spoonerisms — named for the Rev. William Archibald Spooner (1844–1930), an Oxford don who actually claimed to have only made one spoonerism in his life (calling a hymn "The Kinkering Congs Their Titles Take", instead of "The Conquering Kings Their Titles Take"). While the word sounds like something derived from Latin, it's actually a made-up word. At its simplest, it's simply mixing up the first letter or sound of two words, so that Ilarity Hensues. It's meanerally gent to appear accidental, either as a result of falking too tast, or moo many tartinis.

It can also, as in that last example, involve mixing up sounds from the middles or ends of words. (This is also known as Kniferism and Forkerism.) It can also involve more than two words, thut bat's amfully awbitious true tie.

Extra points if the spoonerism still makes sense, just not the sense you would want to make. Spoonerisms can also be used by cunning writers as a form of Petting Rap Cast the Gaydar, especially when it comes to Mountry Catters. A common involuntary consequence of misspoken Twunge Tisters. Can also be the result of a Non Sequitur, *Thud*

Characters who speak entirely in these are likely to become Terbal Vicked. See also Malaproper. When you do this on a larger scale with whole words within a sentence, it often results in a Russian Reversal. Cockney Rhyming Slang is a similar technique.

Has nothing to do with Funny Spoon.


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  • An old advert for Trebor Extra Strong Mints ran with this. Apparently they make your dongue tizzy.
  • In one Butterfinger commercial where somebody steals Bart's Butterfinger bar, Homer is hooked up to a lie detector and asked to state his name, which Homer responds with "Somer Himpson". He attempts to correct himself, but gets shocked for the error.

    Manime and Anga 
  • In One Piece a character called "Gaimon" was introduced in an early arc. More than 600 chapters later, he made an appearance along a woman called "Sarfunkel", thus making the pair a reference to a musical duo popular in the sixties.
  • In Soul Eater, the names of the witches Eruka and Mizune are spoonerisms of the Japanese words for their theme animals: kaeru (frog) and nezumi (mouse). In this case it's more of a Sdrawkcab Name, since Japanese is written in syllables rather than letters.
  • Space☆Dandy features an alien named Tohn Jravolta who is encountered on the planet Grease.

  • Either Dorothy Parker, W. C. Fields, Groucho Marx, or Tom Waits said, "I'd rather have a bottle in front o' me than a frontal lobotomy."
    • Which Dean Martin developed into "I would rather have a free bottle in front of me than a pre-frontal lobotomy."
    • The line apparently has a long and mysterious history. Radio comedian Fred Allen and television comedian Steve Allen have also been credited with having come up with it.
  • "Lirty Dies" from Capitol Steps has this as the point of the character. He simply delivers a long monologue with at least one spoonerism per sentence. In addition, proper nouns that were spoonerized (i.e. all of them) retain their new name throughout the sketch (For example, after referring to that Madman Saddam as that Sadman Maddam, he called him Maddam the whole routine). Made even more impressive by how most of the spoonerism make more sense than just being silly. He also sneaks in a fair amount of profanity by simply spoonerizing the dirty word. Or alternatively, he uses the technique to add a dirty word—for example, observing that if you're in the back seat of a police car, "there are no dandles on those whores!", or claiming that Monica Lewinsky's forthcoming memoirs would have the Literary Allusion Title A Sale of Two Titties ("that rook is gonna make her bitch").
    • Occasionally, the Lirty Dies dialogue will subvert this trope for fun, using alliteration, and then provide a Hampshade Langing.
      Do you think I'm crazy enough to flip the words "Forty Bucks?"
    • Done again with the Anthony Weiner scandal.
      I didn't have to flip that name.
    • One notable instance had him unable to deliver on any when discussing "Shmenron".
      How about those crumbers nunchers who were pedding all the shrapers? Those audacious auditors and accountants at Arthur Andersen.
  • Terry Foy (Ferry Toy?) spoonerised certain Tairy Fales—er, Fairy Tales, for hilarious results. One example: "Loldigocks was falking through the worest." Sound that out in your mind.
    • His stage name is "Zilch the Tory Steller," and there are some stories he just won't do. Robin Hood being a prime example. "Once you get to Friar Tuck, it's all over."
    • Archie Campbell did the same thing with Rindercella and The Pee Little Thriggs.
  • Jack Ross had a Top 20 hit in 1962 with a comedy/novelty record relating the tale of "Cinderella" and consisting of these. Listen to it here.
  • The entire 10,840 word long joke "Lost in the Desert" is a set up for the phrase "Better Nate Than Lever" to be said in a way that makes sense in context.
  • The story of the Foo Bird. Other variations exist, all leading up to the same spoonerism based on "If the shoe fits, wear it."
  • Many jokes where only half the answer is told, because the inversion leads to profanity.
  • Firesign Theater's "The Further Adventures of Nick Danger" presents Nick's encounter with Rocky Rococco who tries to sell a ring to him that once belonged to an acquaintence. Nick called it "a two-bit ring from a Cracker Back jox."

    Bomic Cooks 
  • Professor Artemis Phoebus, a quirky scientist character from the story "The Vortex" in The Pertwillaby Papers by Don Rosa (who invents a universal solvent, which would later be recycled in an Uncle Scrooge story) speaks in near-constant spoonerisms. This becomes particularly embarrassing when he tries to call the president a "smart fella".
  • In the Tintin comics, Thomson and Thompson do this often.
    Thompson: Something very odd has just happened!
    Thomson: To be precise, we just happen to be very odd!
  • Paulus de Boskabouter: Gregorius the badger shares this habit.
  • MAD artist Al Jaffee did a couple of articles called "Mad Switcheroos" that had some nutty examples as jokes, and to make them funnier, left the punch line blank for the reader to figure out. (The illustration helped.) For example:
    Setup Line: What's the difference between an angry General and the New Jersey shore?
    Punch Line: An angry General is poorly saluted. The New Jersey shore is sorely polluted.
  • Viz sometimes spoonerises the names of its characters for the benefit of its front cover, to that readers can see that this issue features "Wockney Canker", "Boiled Spastard" and "Ferry Tuckwit".
  • In De Cape et de Crocs, everything the Spooneristic Smugglers say is a spoonerism of a much, much coarser sentence.
  • In Asterix and the Laurel Wreath, a Running Gag are drunk Gauls saying "Farpaitement" ("Ferpectly") in the original French, and "Zigackly" (for "Exactly") or "Ferpectly true" ("Perfectly true") in the English version.

  • Combined with Freudian Slip in Bruce Almighty. Bruce has used his divine powers to enlarge his girlfriend Grace's breasts. When she confronts him about it, he says "Listen, I, uh, I have to go. But this has been the breast beck...breast...thank you," when he was trying to say, "best breakfast".
  • In Blazing Saddles, the preacher sermonizes about the troubles brought to Rock Ridge: "Sheriff murdered, crops burned, stores looted, people stampeded, and cattle raped." Although, considering the bandits in question, that might not be a Spoonerism after all.
  • A Shot in the Dark: "A rit of fealous jage."
  • In Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, Dickie (as a child) was known for saying "This is nucking futs!" in the sitcom he was in.
  • In Wag the Dog, Agent Young facetiously says "when the fit hits the shan" when he confronts Conrad.
  • The name of FBI agent played by Willem Dafoe in The Boondock Saints. "Paul Smecker"?
  • In Ratatouille, Linguini tries to say "Ego is coming and he's going to have a big appetite" in a pep talk to the staff, but it comes out as "Appetite is coming and he's going to have a big ego!"
  • In The Last Unicorn, Schmendrick's warning of "Be wary of wousing a wizard's wrath! Rousing!" gets expanded into "Be wary of wousing a rizard's wrath! Rousing a rizard's — rou... be wary of - of making a magician angry!"
  • Deadpool (2016): "What's a nice place like you doing in a girl like this?"
    • A similar quote appears in The Mummy (1999), spoken by the (very drunk) girl herself: "Ah. I know. You're wondering... what is a place like me doing in a girl like this?"
  • In Big Hero 6, when Baymax's battery is low, at one point he says "I'm healthcare, your personal Baymax companion".
  • In Tales from Muppetland: The Frog Prince, the princess has a curse put on her by the witch that causes her to speak entirely in spoonerisms so nobody can understand her except for the Frog Prince. She knows how to defeat the witch, but even the Frog Prince isn't able to understand her when she says to "bake the hall in the candle of her brain" until the climax of the film where he finally figures out that she means "Break the ball in the handle of her cane."
  • In Back to the Future, when George has to ask out Lorraine:
    George: I'm your density. I mean, your destiny.
  • In That Thing You Do!, Guy—who has already had a few martinis—is so gobsmacked at meeting his music idol Del Paxton that he tells him "you are my biggest fan!"
  • Disney Animated Canon
  • Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory has the titular character note a few times how they have so much time and so little to do- Scratch that. Reverse it.
  • In Doctor at Large, Joy calls a circus asking to send all they've got on elephants to St. Swithin's but gets sent all the elephants they've got (although it's implied that Joy had the mistake made intentionally to undermine Dr. Bingham):
    Dr. Bingham: Oh, no! I told them to send all they'd got on elephants, not all the elephants they'd got!
  • In Watch Your Stern, when Captain Foster tries to stop Admiral Pettigrew from thinking Potter is an imposter:
    Captain Foster: Well, but... that's impotterable, sir.
    Admiral Pettigrew: What's "impotterable", Foster?
    Captain Foster: Well, sir, imposterable that, er, Potter should be an infoster, er, "poster", sir.

  • Many jokes feature vulgar spoonerisms — or, rather, set them up and leave the listener to finish them off.
    • Q. What's the difference between the Barnum and Bailey Circus and a line of Playboy centerfolds? A. The circus is a cunning array of stunts...
    • A well-known music joke: Q: What's the difference between a seamstress and a soprano? A: The seamstress frills and tucks.
      • Alternate version for A: The seamstress tucks up the frills.
      • Another version revolving around a different music stereotype: Q: What's the difference between a seamstress and a French horn player? A: The seamstress says, "Tuck the frills."
    • There's also: "What's the difference between a chiropractor and a drummer? The chiropractor bucks up your feet."
    • A squickier variant: "What's the difference between an epileptic corn farmer and a prostitute with diarrhea? One of them shucks between fits."'
    • Also, "What the difference between a bad marksman and a constipated owl? One can shoot but not hit."
    • What's the difference between Lady Godiva and a missing golf ball? The missing golf ball is a hunt on a course.
    • What's the difference between a smoker and Kermit the Frog? A smoker craves a cig in the pack.
  • A less raunchy one: What's the difference between a school cafeteria and Strawman News Media? The cafeteria serves up hash and tripe.
  • The following limerick is sometimes heard:
    I'm not the pheasant plucker, I'm the pheasant plucker's son; I'm only plucking pheasants 'til the pheasant plucker comes

  • The book The Big Joke Game had fun with Spoonerism.
  • Molly Moon: Maharaja of Waqt, the main villain of Molly Moon's Time-Traveling Adventure, suffers from this.
  • The title character of The Muddle-Headed Wombat does this a lot; one of his catchphrases is the assurance that he "treely ruly" means what he's saying.
  • Jess Ferret from Margaret Mahy's Alchemy really loves doing this, almost to the point of it becoming a Verbal Tic.
    Jess: You’ve got all nosy about me for some reason, and you thought I’d fall at your feet just with the flattery of being seen–the battery of fleeing scene.
  • Shel Silverstein wrote an entire book around this concept: Runny Babbit.
  • In Jingo, Sgt. Colon reminisces about his military years with the "Pheasant Pluckers", a regiment nicknamed for how they'd stolen poultry from a noble's estate. Angua nearly laughs herself sick when he muses aloud that lots of people seemed unable to pronounce this nickname...
  • Paul Jennings, along with Ted Greenwood and Terry Denton, are responsible for a book just full of these. The title? Spooner or Later. The authors' names are even spoonerised on the back of the book. It also qualifies as a Hurricane of Puns.
  • Gruntan Kurdly, villainous barbarian warlord of the Redwall installment Eulalia, slips up when trying to say "give 'em blood and thunder". When someone calls him on it, he declares that he meant to do it because "thud and blunder" sounds better, and threatens his followers into agreeing.
    • In an earlier book, Rollo the baby bankvole picks up garbled versions of Basil and Ambrose's drinking songs, and starts singing about fighting a flagon and drinking a dragon.
  • Hank the Cowdog does this a lot.
    Hank: You'll never guess who I caught snealing steaky glances at me stealing sneaky glances.
  • "The Three-Martini Debate" by Christopher Buckley:
    Bush: Seems to me the last Diberal Lemocrat, capital "D," capital "L," we elected was also anti-Martini.
  • So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld has a series of commercials with this as their gimmick. A man orders a "Lack of ram with keys and parrots", among other things.
  • In Howl's Moving Castle, when Calcifer accuses him of being drunk, Howl insists he's "cone sold stober".
  • The Berenstain Bears: Mayor Horace J. Honeypot is prone to these, including once starting a speech with "Sellow fitizens!"
  • In Encyclopedia Brown, one of his clients was so shaken up by the crime that he began speaking in these due to stress. This is actually a plot point.
  • One Winnie the Pooh story starts with Christopher Robin mentioning that he's seen a heffalump, which leads to Pooh and Piglet trying to catch one. The illustrations clearly shows them dreaming about elephants, although the narrative claims that neither Pooh nor Piglet has any idea what a heffalump looks like.
  • Arsène Lupin was going to feature Sherlock Holmes in one story, but Arthur Conan Doyle threatened to sue. So Maurice Leblanc ended up facing a Mr. Herlock Sholmes (and his assistant Wilson) instead.
  • Bred Any Good Rooks Lately?: A Collection of Puns, Shaggy Dogs, Spoonerisms, Feghoots & Malappropriate Stories is an anthology gathered by James Charlton, and is full of short stories that all end with spoonerisms or other puns. The title comes from the last line of "For the Birds", a humorous short story contributed by none other than Stephen King.
  • According to Gravity Falls: Journal 3, the Author got the same kind of ominous bug bites Dipper would in "Tourist Trapped". However, he thought "BATCH OUT FOR WILL" was total nonsense and wrote it off.
  • In Robert McCloskey's Homer Price and Centerburg Tales, the town sheriff is prone to this whenever he gets flustered.
    Sheriff: And all of you young 'uns were shootin' up the town with yer Wheatsy-Beatsy Ray Guns! Every time I turned around, an Eatsy-Wheatsy Gay Run anged off in my beer—I mean ear!
  • Charles Stross is fond of the word "wunch" as a collective noun for bankers (as in a wunch of bankers) to the point that a quote from The Rhesus Chart appears as a usage example on its Wiktionary entry. It's also the name of a faction of alien financial parasites in Accelerando.

    Tive-Action LV 
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun: Officer Don's incredibly memetic "Ass right there, freezehole!"
  • The Brady Bunch: A Season 1 episode, "Is There a Doctor In the House," has Carol frantically trying to explain to Mike a mixup with two family doctors who separately had made house calls for their children, Peter and Jan, and in the process gets tongue-tied and mixes up Peter's name with the name of the boys' doctor, Dr. Porter. note 
  • El Chavo del ocho: Often, when talking to Sr. Barriga, Don Ramón would switch Sr. Barriga's name and another word of his dialog, driving Sr. Barriga mad since it makes it look like Don Ramón is insulting him for being fat. An example:
    Don Ramón: Fíjese como ha acumulado barriga el Sr. Fortuna. (Look how much belly Mr. Fortune has)
  • One of El Chapulín Colorado's catchphrases is "No se panda el cúnico" ("Let's not preate canic!")
  • Referred to in the "Man who Speaks Entirely in Anagrams" sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus:
    Interviewer: "Ring Kichard", yes - but surely that's not an anagram, that's a spoonerism.
    Man who etc.: If you're gonna split hairs I'm gonna piss off. [exit]
  • Ronnie Barker played the Reverend Spooner (after whom spoonerisms were named) in at least two Two Ronnies sketches.
    • Another sketch, which had Barker as an ice cream shop owner, spoonerised "knickerbocker glory" as "binger-knocker glory" after saying it correctly earlier in the sketch, during a Motor Mouth Long List of ice cream flavours.
  • On The Daily Show, Jon Stewart described something as a "cunch to the punt," after hearing about someone who criticized someone for saying "ass backwards" instead of "bass ackwards." He immediately wished he had said "a dunch to the pick."
  • Kenny Everett had a character called Cupid Stunt, although for understandable reasons her surname never appeared in official BBC publicity.
  • In Action, when Peter's character finds out his ex-wife is pregnant with his baby while bearding for a closeted gay film executive. ...she tells him he can't tell anyone:
    Ex-wife: Peter, my husband doesn't want the world to know that you perform all of his vaginal stunts.
    Peter: And what a cunning stunt you are.
  • An episode of That '70s Show has a drunk Jackie Burkhart do this with her own name:
    Jackie: Ah, come back here! Nobody ignores Jerky Backhart!
  • SNL's Celebrity Jeopardy had two impressive examples:
    • This Stealth Pun:
      Sean Connery: What's the difference between you and a mallard with a cold? One's a sick duck...I can't remember how it ends, but your mother's a whore.
    • And one where Sean wrote down as his Final Jeopardy! response: "Buck Futter".
  • In the infamous "Vitameatavegamin" episode of I Love Lucy, Lucy has to shoot so many takes of a commercial that she ends up getting drunk and mixing up her speech: "Do you pop out at parties? Are you unpoopular?" And so on. Heck, it's hard to pronounce the product's name even without drinking it.
  • On The Nanny, Niles does one of these when he's flustered upon meeting Elizabeth Taylor, introducing himself as "Biles the nutler."
  • When introducing himself on an episode of Password, celebrity guest Bill Cullen told America that "we're all here to pass Playword." Announcer Jack Clark laughed and then introduced the show as Playword himself, and then host Allen Ludden jokingly gave Bill a hard time about it.
    • On Super Password, Nipsey Russell was trying to communicate the word "Desert" to his partner. His clue was "Gobi." The contestant's response: "Dillis."
  • While guest hosting Never Mind the Buzzcocks, James Blunt referred to the singer of his song "You're Beautiful" as "James spooking Funt".
  • An episide of UK sitcom Outnumbered featured Sanjeev Bhaskar playing a former TV weatherman whose career was ended after making a spoonerism of the phrase 'cold front'. As Ben helpfully explained, first he said 'frold', then he said...
  • When on the radio, Penn Jillette has been known to refer to Penn & Teller: Bullshit! as "Bushlit" to avoid getting slapped with obscenity fines from the FCC.
  • MythQuest: When Alex asks how Thor is, he replies, "I'm darely even brunk."
  • Screaming Yellow Theater opened with "the following proscribed is transgrammed".
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway?
    • A blooper reel contains a bit where Wayne opens a Hoedown with "I consider myself quite a fugal frella."
    • Played with in the game "Change Letter", which lead the cast to talk about things like Wayne Brady's "fig futt".
  • In a CSI episode, Riley, helping to investigate a murder in a motel, has to check on the next room, whose occupants are audibly having sex. She's somewhat shocked when an old couple answer the door, and says she's from the "lime crab" instead of the "crime lab."
  • The Kentucky Schreit Ficken segments of the German comedy show RTL Samstag Nacht, a Transatlantic Equivalent of Saturday Night Live, use spoonerisms to make things sound dirty that normally aren't. This includes the title, a spoonerism on how Kentucky Fried Chicken would roughly be spelled in German; it literally translates to "Kentucky Screams Fuck".
  • Host Bill Cullen ended one episode of Blockbusters by saying "Goodbye from Bustblockers".
  • Mike from Ghosts (UK) has a tendency to make these, leading to the episode title "Redding Weddy".
  • Better Call Saul: A Stealth Pun example occurs in "Saul Gone". Jimmy takes up kitchen duties in prison, one duty of which includes baking bread.

  • Metallica pranked their fans by naming their first live DVD Cunning Stunts, with the expectation that people would goof it up. Before Metallica did it, Cows and Caravan both had albums called Cunning Stunts. It is kind of an old joke in general though.
  • NOFX had an album called "Punk in Drublic," a pun on being drunk and mispronouncing words.
  • Wheatus's Suck Fony was a re-release of their album Hand Over Your Loved Ones, which was screwed by their former label Columbia Records, hence the very thinly-veiled Take That! to the label's owner, Sony Music Entertainment.
  • Electronica artist Com Truise.
  • Toby Keith's "American Ride" has the line "the fit's gonna hit the shan."
    • Robbers On High Street's "Spanish Teeth" has the same spoonerism with the lines "Do you remember where it all began / Before the fit ever hit the shan?"
  • "Cinderella", a 1962 novelty single by Jack Ross that somehow hit the Billboard Top 20, consists of a spoken-word monologue made up entirely of these accompanied by a jazz combo, with reactions from an inordinately-appreciative live audience.
  • The Cramps' "Jackyard Backoff".
  • Jasper Carrott, a well-known British comedian, once performed a song called 'Chastity Belt' that was chock-full of these. For example, 'Mentle Gaiden' and some other rather unsavoury ones like "The billy old sastard has yitted a Fale" or "Alas and alack I'm f...locked up forever"
  • The Aerosmith album Night in the Ruts.
  • George Strait's "The Chair" has "Well, thank you / Could I drink you a buy / Oh listen to me / What I mean is, can I buy you a drink".
  • Eminem:
    • The "clean" version of his song "My 1st Single," off of his 2004 album Encore, changes a certain phone number to "1-800-I'm-a-Sick-Ducker-I-Love-to-Duck-a-Sick." Three guesses as to what the original number was, and the first two don't count.
    • On "Cold Wind Blows", Slim brags that he's "a sick duck - I want my duck sicked, Mommy!"
  • Butthole Surfers' Hairway to Steven is sort of a spoonerism on "Stairway to Heaven"
  • Country Music singer Pam Tillis's debut album was titled Above and Beyond the Doll of Cutey.note 
  • Tove Lo's name is a Spoonerism of "Love to".
  • Punk Rock group The Chineapple Punx.note 
  • Van der Graaf Generator's album Pawn Hearts got its title when saxophonist David Jackson spoonerized "horn parts" as "porn harts" - turning "porn" into "pawn" makes sense if you keep certain British accents in mind.
  • "A Heart with 4 Wheel Drive" by 4 Runner: "Well, I've got tears all over my windshield and rain pouring out of my eyes."
  • Smog's album Dongs Of Sevotion.
  • Belgian singer Stromae's stage name is a Spoonerism of "Maestro".
  • At least two acts hit upon the idea of calling one of their compilation albums "The Berry Vest Of": Gilbert O'Sullivan and The Swirling Eddies.
  • The Finnish version of "Down by the River" (the one starting with "City life was getting us down...") is called "Varrella virran", which is a pretty literal translation. Then there's a parody sung by Kalle Päätalo with the same tune called "Virralla warren", which is about trying to charge up your car's battery with — here's where the title comes in — "current from a Wartburg brand car."
  • In the finale of P.D.Q. Bach's The Seasonings, "To curry favor, favor curry," the sopranos sing at one point (specifically, the "Hallelujah" parody): "Favor curs to furry caves."
  • Brazilian band Ratos de Porão took the title of their debut Crucificados pelo Sistema (Crucified by the System) to baptize a later album Sistemados pelo Crucifa.
  • Jack Rutter's solo act Ritt Momney (formerly a band) is a spoonerism of US politician Mitt Romney.
  • The Polish band Chór Wujów ("A Choir of Uncles") is a spoonerism for "wór chujów" ("a bag of dicks").
  • Panic! at the Disco's "Don't Threaten Me With a Good Time" has "I told you time and time again/I'm not as think as you drunk I am."
  • Callous Daoboys are named for a spoonerism of an American football team, the Dallas Cowboys.
  • Dean Grey was a pseudonym for a collaboration between mashup producers Party Ben and Team9 - their only work together was American Edit, a mashup album themed around Green Day's American Idiot.

    Shuppet Pows 

  • BBC Radio's The Burkiss Way had a throwaway line about Friar Tuck being threatened with a spoonerism.
    • Clement Freud liked to make similar Friar Tuck references on Just a Minute.
  • The "Drear Pooson" incident on The Jack Benny Program. Early in the episode Don Wilson mistakenly refers to newspaper columnist Drew Pearson as "Drear Pooson", elicting lots of laughter. The quick-thinking writers made a last-minute change to one of Frank Nelson's lines: as a hotel doorman, when asked if he was indeed the doorman, he was originally going to reply "Who do you think I am, Nelson Eddy?", but instead he made a Brick Joke out of Wilson's blooper by replying "Who do you think I am, Drear Pooson?". The resulting laughter broke the record previously set by "Your money or your life?" "I'm thinking it over!"
  • Implied in an episode of Hello Cheeky.
    Tim: And now I'd like to introduce the Kent-Hunt Cup...but I daren't.
  • The first episode of Series 5 of I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again segues from the opening credits into "The David Hatch Show", in which David Hatch, usually limited to the role of narrator, passes himself off as a DJ. His DJ patter includes the following careful subversion of the obvious spoonerisms:
    David Hatch: Yes, it's Dave the Rave on the medium wave, with another happy-go-go, ringing-dinging, bunky-futting, frunty-bucking, brunty-funking, funting-butting - that was close! (audience laughter) Funky-butting fun time of fun and frolics on Radio Hatch!
  • Many of the early radio Bloopers featured by Kermit Schafer in his Pardon My Blooper albums note  fall into this category:
    • Harry von Zell (later known as the announcer on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show) once referred to Herbert Hoover as "Hoobert Heever", an incident he is still remembered for. (While the Schafer recording is a recreation, von Zell confirmed the incident did happen.)
    • According to the Wikipedia page on 'Blooper', Gerald R Ford was once introduced as "Gerald Smith", which happened to be the same name as a American Fascist spokesman from the '30s.
    • A CBC announcer referring to the network as the "Canadian Broadcorping Castration". The only known recording of that one is a Schafer recreation, and details on the context, the time and the person who made the slip-up vary wildly from one telling to the next, which makes it unlikely to be more than an Urban Legend.
    • An announcer referring to Oklahoma City as "Oklacity Homa".
    • An announcer reading a commercial for Northwest Orient Airlines calling the airline "Northwest Arient Oarlines".
    • Three different spokespeople - one who urged listeners to shop at "their local A& Food Pee store", another who promoted "Orange Tekoe Pee", and a third who praised a local bakery's "breast bed & rolls you ever tasted; I knew that would happen one night, folks."
  • In Series 22 Episode 4 of The Unbelievable Truth, David Mitchell introduces the teams with "I've got four shining wits here tonight, and that's not just a spoonerism."
  • An episode of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue in which they were recording from Cambridge, and so all the limericks had a Cambridge theme, produced this (and yes, Spooner was actually an Oxford man):
    Humph: While out on the Cam in a punt,
    Barry: I saw Reverend Spooner in front.
    Willie: He said "What a day gay!"
    Graeme: And "Anchors away!"
    Tim: And "Make way for my podding sunt!"

  • In Tom Stoppard's On The Razzle (which is an adaptation of Johann Nestroy's Einen Jux will er sich machen, which was also adapted by Thorton Wilder as The Matchmaker, which was adapted by Michael Stewart And Jerry Herman as Hello, Dolly!...where was I? Oh, yes...) Zangler, the shop owner does this regularly, usually, but not always correcting himself. Par Exemplum...
    Do you suppose I'd let my airedale be hounded up hill and-my heiress be mounted up hill and bank by a truffle-hound-be trifled with by a mountebank?
    • Or, he is helped out by another...
      Zangler: ...this is the first time Madame Knorr has had the privilege of being swept round the heap of my camp fire.
      Christopher: That's very well put, chief.
      Zangler: I don't mean the heap of my camp fire.
      Christopher: Humped round the scene of your memoirs?
      Zangler: No.
      Christopher: Squired round the hub of your empire?
      Zangler: That's the boy!
  • Briefly discussed in Mary Mary, where Mary offers an anecdotal example from her life:
    Mary: I was buying a hammock for the porch at home. And in a crowded elevator I said, "Miss where do you have perch forniture?"
    Dirk: Perch forniture?
    Mary: Don't you know the unsuitable things that would go on in perch forniture?
  • In State of the Union, after Mary has imbibed a few too many Sazaracs:
    Grant: Mary, I'm on a spot here tonight. We both are. We have to be ready to do some quick thinking.
    Mary: Don't worry about me. I'm a very thick quinker.
  • In Of Thee I Sing, a Senator's convention speech denounces the "entangling alliances of Europe" and the "allying entanglances of Asia."
  • Too Many Girls:
    Lister: This is the Stunted Hag?
    Clint: You mean the Hunted Stag.
  • The Christmas Eve shoppers in She Loves Me get it right only on the third try:
    We're not the shopple who peeped in time—
    We're not the sheeple who popped in time—
    We're not the people who shopped in time—
  • From the song "Washington on Your Side" from Hamilton:
    Jefferson: I get no satisfaction witnessing his fits of passion
    The way he primps and preens and dresses like the pits of fashion
    • According to Min-Lanuel Liranda, spoonerisms are a favorite joke of his (regardless of how funny other people find them), and when he realized that "fits of passion" and "pits of fashion" both worked in the English language, he worked backwards to find a place in Hamilton to put them, resulting in the above line.
  • The Solid Gold Cadillac:
    McKeever: (on the phone) No, I can't give you the dato on Nato—the Nato on data—(Desperate, but gets it out) The data on Nato!
  • Ride the Cyclone has Ocean declaring in "What The World Needs" that "What we need is a fothermucking hero!" This is the only time anyone in the musical tries to censor their profanity, oddly enough.

    Peme Tharks 
  • Sonny Eclipse, the alien lounge singer at Magic Kingdom's Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe, hails from the city of Yew Nork on the Planet Zork, and sings about the underground city's wonders such as the caxi tabs, the waysub stations, Av Parkenue, Harnegie Call, the Dorfwal Astoria, St. Rickpack's Cathedral, Squadison Mare Garden, Fellerocker Plaza, the Liber of Statuety, the musicals of Waybroad, and the Pire-em State Building once menaced by a Kong King.

    Gideo Vames 
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty had the famous "Fission Mailed" sequence.
  • The Infocom text-adventure game Nord and Bert Couldn't Make Head or Tail of It featured a chapter of Spoonerisms. The player had to change a shoving leopard into a loving shepherd, a well-boiled icicle into a well-oiled bicycle, etc.
  • From Zork: Grand Inquisitor: "Your sword is blowing glue! ...wait, let me try that again."
  • From Mother 3: "The Funshine Sorest is on fire!"
  • Twilight Heroes has an entire quest, "A Dank and Rusty Mystery", which takes place in the Rank and Dusty Maze.
  • Rift: Some life invasions contain creatures called "Flutterbys."
  • In Beyond Good & Evil when Jade tells the IRIS password ("Safe and sound in its shell, the precious pearl is the slave of the currents") to the newspaper seller in the city, he thinks that it's a spoonerism. ("Cave of the slurrents?") This may be a reference to the early draft of the game script, where the rebel organization was called SPOON.
  • Carmageddon series have "Cunning Stunt Bonus".
  • Similarly, one DLC of Grand Theft Auto V, focused on more materials for stunt racing, is titled "Cunning Stunts".
  • The first boss of Dragon Quest VIII, Geyzer, lets off a lot of these. He apparently didn't used to talk like this, but when a fortune teller threw his crystal ball into the waterfall Geyzer calls home, it hit him square in the head.
  • The western release of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle translates young Joseph Joestar's "Happy, joy-py, nice to meet you-py!" taunt as "Damn meased to pleet ya!"
  • In The Legend of Dragoon, Meru refers to the Valley of Corrupted Gravity as a "mell of a hess kind a place".
    Meru: Wow, how naive!! You make it sound easy, but you cannot go through such a mell of a hess kind a place without a person like me whose totally knowledgeable and totally pretty!
  • For each level in Runner 3, Charles Martinet reads off the name before you enter. Some levels have a random chance that he'll have an alternate reading of it, most of which are spoonerisms (level 1-2, "A Briny Solicitation", is sometimes read as "A Sriny Bolicitation"). One level, "Parallel Peril", is sometimes even followed by a slight pause and "Spoonerize THAT!".
  • In Saints Row (2022), the Rim Jobs body shops from the previous games have been Bowdlerised into Jim Rob's, retaining the original joke while making it less overt.
  • Shantae and the Pirate's Curse: Bolo after delivering the Targetting Module:
    Bolo: The breath up here is GREAT for my fresh air!
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Wendy Oldbag calls Phoenix Wright a "snipperwhapper" after he questions whether she was truly at the main gate from 1:00 to 5:00.
  • The Compact Tree: Condense Buyable 11 is named "Point Centrifuge", while Condense Buyable 12 is named "Coint Pentrifuge".
  • Andrew Schultz's I Heart High Art series of Interactive Fiction games revolves around solving puzzles by visiting spoonerism-themed places and using items you find. For instance, the first game has "All Smiles" vs. "Small Isles" and "Pick Quest" vs. "Quick Pest".

    Eb Wanimation 
  • A very rude example in the Helluva Boss episode "Exes and Oohs": Moxxie calls out his father for suddenly acting like he likes Chaz when he previously called him a "friendless horse-fucker". Soon after, Blitzo refers to Chaz as a "horseless friend-fucker" — which is weirdly appropriate coming from Blitzo, who loves horses and who's impressed by the fact that Chaz has dated both of his friends Moxxie and Millie (but still doesn't like him).
  • A threatening version is used in the third episode of LEGO's Hidden Side shorts: when Jack and Parker go into an abandoned shrimp shack, the neon sign reading "all you can eat" changes to "can eat you all".
  • Homestar Runner has made spoonerisms something of a Running Gag, to the point that the Homestar Runner Wiki has an article all about this trope in action. To name a few examples:
    • In the Strong Bad Email "privileges", a list of the new privileges that come with The Cheat becoming a Medallion Gold Plus member in Strong Bad's rewards program includes both "Strong Bad Math" and "Strong Mad Bath".
    • One segment of the email "technology" has Strong Bad talking about cellular telephones, or "tellular celephones" as he calls them.
    • In "Marzipan's Answering Machine 16.2", the King of Town uses the flimsy alias "Ting of Kown" while planning a prank on Strong Sad.
    • In the email "too cool", Strong Bad says he knows Senor Cardgage has a character video because "I filmed the thang ding! I mean, dang thing."
    • In "The Homestar Runner Enters the Spooky Woods", Strong Bad subverts the usual intro of "Everyone loves the Homestar Runner, he is a terrific athelete," by calling The Homestar Runner an "athletic teriffe".

    Ceb Womics 

    Eb Woriginal 
  • Prinderella & The Cince by Tom Callinan:
    Sure she lived in a big HARK DOUSE with her mean old MEP STOTHER and her two SISTY UGLERS and they made her do all the WORDY DIRK while they sat around CHEATING OCKLATES and MAGGING READAZINES....The next day [the prince] went from house to house but you can't turn that around.
  •'s meteorologists must be glad they pre-record their forecasts; judging by all the spoonerisms that make it onto their blooper reel they would not do well on live TV...check out such gems as "saylight davings" and "thumb somderstorms" in this particular clip.
  • Done in one example of Not Always Right, which could also count as a Freudian Slip:
    Customer: [while ordering popcorn at a movie theater] I'd like two boxes of cockporn, please.
  • Tig Ol' Bitties.
  • In one Not Always Working story, a co-worker accidentally calls fitted sheets "shitted feets."
  • The Adel Dazeem name generator makes this.
  • During a session of Prop Hunt at Vanoss Gaming;
    I Am Wildcat: We were bottles between the couch and the bullet ploof grass...

    Veb Wideo 

    Estern Wanimation 
  • Victor from Victor & Hugo was very prone to this, to the point where he, and others, would spoonerise the spoonerisms into a garbled mess of the original intended message. On the odd occasion where Hugo took charge, HE would become spoonerific himself.
  • From The Simpsons episode "Cape Feare":
    Bart: Take him away, boys!
    Chief Wiggum: Hey, I'm the chief here! Bake him away, toys!
    Lou: What did you say Chief?
    Chief Wiggum: Do what the kid says.
    • Wiggum again in "Moe Baby Blues": "Scum, freezebag!"
  • Beavis and Butt-Head
    • In the episode "Buy Beer," Butt-head says "We're fitshaced."
    • In the Christmas Special parodying A Christmas Carol, Beavis, playing the Scrooge role, repeatedly says "bumhug."
  • A signature trait of Zummi from Adventures of the Gummi Bears.
  • Cool McCool, an obscure NBC Saturday morning cartoon from 1966 (created by Bob Kane, no less), has its title character with this verbal tic. To wit, after capturing arch-foe the Owl:
    McCool: For your crime, you'll get twenty years on word seed and butter. Er, bird seed and water.
  • Superfriends 1973/74 episode "The Balloon People". Dr. Noah Tall's assistant Twisty uses a Spoonerism in every sentence he speaks, and each time is corrected by Dr. Tall. By the end of the episode he has Dr. Tall doing it too.
  • In the King of the Hill episode "Junkie Business", when Hank hires a drug addict, the junkie picks up the ringing phone responding, "Strickland Propane: Taste the Heat, not the Meat." Hank quickly correct the slogan over the phone and desperately apologizes to the caller. Apparently, the slogan is Serious Business, or at least Hank treats it that way.
  • During the second appearance of Batman and Robin on The New Scooby-Doo Movies, there was a scientist who had invented a flying suit. However, he suffered from Spoonerisms greatly, sometimes calling his invention a "sighing flute". The first appearance has Batman invoke this on purpose to mock the Joker by calling him the "Clown Prince of Climb"
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Out to Launch," Dr. Doofensmirtz says, "Well, it just shows to go ya."
  • The aliens that invade in the final episode of Kim Possible are from Lorwardia, which seems to have taken its name from the spoonerized version of "warlord".
  • In the Futurama episode "Benderama", Morbo gives us this line after the mini-Benders turn the Earth's water into booze: "...and everyone's titty much protally fit-shased." American syndicated broadcasts changed this line to, "...and everyone's pretty much scrotally tewed."
  • In an early episode of Family Guy, when Peter suddenly realizes the Joe (who he invited to participate in a baseball game) is paraplegic, he exclaims "Holy crip, he's a crapple!"
  • In the Hanna-Barbera series Trollkins, Mayor Lumpkin does this.
  • In the Super Mario World episode "Gopher Bash", Cheatsy says "Don't just help him! Stand there!" when one of the Monty Moles is stuck in a hole. Possibly a Shout-Out to the Alice in Wonderland line.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "No Second Prances", after Trixie survives a dangerous trick, she dizzily mutters "Behold, the Peat and Growerful Triskie".
  • Loopy De Loop sometimes mangles common phrases, such as "That is the camel that broke the straw's back" and "That's the way the crumble cookies".
  • In Around the World with Willy Fog, Inspector Dix is prone to spoonerising words whenever he is excited or angry. Sometimes, the initial letters of the words get switched, such as when he tells Bully they will be "stranded in the jiddle of the mungle" if Bully doesn't hurry up. On other occasions, whole words swap places in the sentence Dix is trying to articulate, as happens when he describes himself and Bully as "English pursuit in police of a criminal."
  • In one episode of Hero: 108, a dazed Mighty Ray mixes up his catchphrase and it comes out as "I am Mighty Eyeballs! Fear my Ray!"
  • Mixels: The name of Orbiton leader Niksput is a spoonerism of Sputnik, the name of the world's first man-made satellite, which is fitting given his tribe's astronaut motif.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: One of Gumball's neighbors is named Harry Gedges, but Witness Protection gave him the less than creative name Gary Hedges.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "Squeaky Boots", Mr. Krabs says "Spongeboy, me bob!"
    • In "Rise and Shine", when Patrick is getting ready for his morning with SpongeBob, he says "I gotta put on my teeth and brush my pants!"
    • In "Spongebob in RandomLand", SpongeBob and Squidward speak like this as a result of being in RandomLand.
  • Molly of Denali: In "It Came From Beyond," a tired Trini says that "Bolly will have mumblebees......"

    Leal Rife 
  • In Brazil, particularly terrible puns are known as a "trocadalho do carilho" - something along the lines of "a pucking fun" (though changing the last syllable instead of the first).
  • Feel sorry for little Shiloh Jolie-Pitt. Spoonerised, their name becomes Piloh Jolie-Shitt...that's going to be awkward when all their friends are old enough to work out Spoonerisms. Or old enough to read this website. Whichever comes first.
    • The Capitol Steps "Lirty Dies" skits already made fun of this one, in a subversion where he repeated the name "in straight talk" twice, then paused without completing the flipped version and exclaimed that they had named their child after a "Dile of pung!"
    • Hopefully this is averted now that, according to Angelina Jolie, their child goes by John Jolie-Pitt and uses they/them pronouns.
  • There was a story in Reader's Digest some years back about a brilliant and beloved university professor who frequently spoke in spoonerisms because, according to the article, his mind worked so fast that his mouth simply couldn't keep up. Possibly the most charming incident the article related was when he addressed a woman who had taken his seat in chapel: "I beg your pardon, but you are occupewing my pie. May I sew you to your sheet?"
    • It's generally attributed to Spooner himself, and goes "Someone is occupewing my pie. Please sew me to another sheet."
    • Most of the "spoonerisms" attributed to Spooner are apocryphal, were said by someone else, or were invented. For example, there's no proof Spooner actually said "Sir, you have tasted two whole worms; you have hissed all my mystery lectures and been caught fighting a liar in the quad; you will leave Oxford by the next town drain." The only one he admitted to was saying the name of a hymn as "Kinkering Congs their titles take" instead of "Conquering Kings."
      • Genuine article or not, "the Lord is a shoving leopard" must be among the funniest attributed to the man.
      • Not to mention the time he supposedly proposed a toast to "the queer old Dean".
      • Or referred to Sir Stafford Cripps as Sir Stifford Crapps.
      • Or admired a "well-boiled icicle".
    • In reality, although Spooner was far better known for his namesake trope, he was much more of an Absent-Minded Professor, with a history of what might be called mental spoonerisms such as asking a new faculty addition if he was going to his own welcoming party, or writing a note and then adding a postscript to disregard the note. There's more on his page on TOW.
  • It may be an urban legend, but there's a story about a senator/M.P. who called another a "shining wit", then apologized for the spoonerism.
  • A story told by Humphrey Lyttelton is that an interviewer asked him about being an amateur "orthinologist," and it wasn't until he was on his way home that he realized he should have said, "Not exactly an orthinologist, more of a word botcher."
  • Urban Dictionary describes "Nucking Futs" as "an improvement on an already sweet phrase".
  • Weather forecasters in the UK are sometimes heard to forecast "fost and frog".
  • A habit of Tracy Morgan, according to Tina Fey. Once referred to Jack Human and was puzzled when nobody understood him.
  • There was much hilarity in 2010 at BBC Radio 4 presenter James Naughtie's accidental spoonerism when discussing Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary. It's terribly unfair that Naughtienote  will probably live it down well before Mr C— Mr Hunt does.
    • Hunt's re-emergence as Chancellor in the wake of the 2022 government crisis led to a similar incident involving Robert Peston and the ill-advised phrase "Jeremy Hunt's cuts".
    • The spoonerism is so well known that Jeremy Hunt has become rhyming slang, especially among those critical of the Conservative party.
  • Naming your cat "Cooking Fat" so you don't even have to try to swear when drunk (works best with an accent.)
  • Zilch the Torysteller builds his entire act at the Renaissance Faire around this and it's hilarious.
  • ABC News presenter Joel Daly once said on-air that rumors of a presidential veto came from a "high white horse souse."
  • A traditional toast (sometimes attributed to Tom Waits): "Champagne for my real friends, and real pain for my sham friends." xkcd had a field day with that one.
  • Chapel Hill, North Carolina does a street fair every year called Apple Chill.
  • Programmers often like to mock "feeping creaturism" - the result of "creeping featurism", a piece of bloated software with tons of mostly useless features glued together messily like Frankenstein's creature.
  • A common Spooneristic pick-up line goes "Hey, what can I do you for?"
  • Affy Tapples, the leading brand of caramel (taffy) apples.
  • There is a tongue twister that repeatedly mentions a person who is a pheasant plucker.
  • John Belushi reportedly referred to the Muppets as the "Mucking Fuppets" when the Muppets were a regular feature during the first season of Saturday Night Live.
  • As in Music above, electronica artist Com Truise.
  • NHL star Jamie Benn called out a teammate saying he probably liked to "bunch mox". Twitter (and Tumblr) reacted accordingly (including the corresponding spoonerism).
  • Fans of NHL star and two-time Stanley Cup Winner Patric Hörnqvist celebrated his scoring three goals in one game by Spoonerizing his name.
  • "I am not as thunk as you drink I am!"
    • Extended version: "I'm not as thunk as drinkle peep I am."
    • Also "Take me drunk, I'm home!"
  • The German poetry form "Schüttelreim" is composed of spoonerism (for humorous effect). But note the rules are much stricter - a lot of examples on this page wouldn't count. note 
  • Spoonerisms can be "primed".
  • In Poland they are known by the name gra półsłówek (literally the half-word game), which is a Spoonerism itself: sra półgłówek (literally the half-wit is taking a shit).
  • In an overlap with Who's on First?, a news announcer in Canada once had to deal with a visit by the King and Queen of England, who were greeted by two officials whose surnames happened to be King and Queen. Trying to keep track of the King, the Queen, King, Queen and Mrs. Queen (at least Mr. King wasn't married...) caused him to eventually mess up and say things like "Mr. Keen and the Quing."
  • In a 2020 campaign speech, Joe Biden referred to himself as an "Obiden-Bama Democrat."
  • One of the tenets of Vietnamese humor is "nói lái". Everything is fair game for switching/swapping/replacing with another: consonants, vocals, tones, etc.
  • "Betty Swollocks" "Mary Hinge" and "Joe Blob" have long been favourite topics of jokes, etc.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Oonerspism


Six Thick Thistle Sticks

In the Cliff Hanger segment "Cliff Hanger and Trixie the Tricky Pixie", Cliff Hanger asks the titular pixie to get him off the cliff, but only if he says a tricky tongue twister correctly. Cliff took more than five hours to try to say it correctly, but when he finally does, Trixie just left for a picnic in Dixie and gave up before he said it right causing him to still hang on the cliff.

How well does it match the trope?

4 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / GaveUpTooSoon

Media sources: