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Feb 18, 2013
This week's theme
Words for linguistic errors

This week's words
spoonerism
malapropism
Freudian slip
eggcorn
mondegreen

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Most of us stub our toes or run into a glass door from time to time, though some of us are more prone to this than others. The same works with language. We make errors. Sometimes these are funny. This week we've collected five words to describe such errors.

Even though these errors are called slips of the tongue, slips of the brain may be more appropriate. The tongue does only what the brain asks it to do.

Do you have an example of the errors described in this week's words? Share them in our online forum Wordsmith Talk or email us at (words at wordsmith.org). Selected specimens will be featured in the weekend AWADmail compilation.

spoonerism

PRONUNCIATION:
(SPOO-nuh-riz-em)

MEANING:
noun: The transposition of (usually) the initial sounds of words producing a humorous result. For example:
"It is now kisstomary to cuss the bride." (Spooner while officiating at a wedding)
"Is the bean dizzy?" (Spooner questioning the secretary of his dean)

ETYMOLOGY:
After William Archibald Spooner (1844-1930), clergyman and educator, who was prone to this. Earliest documented use: 1900.

USAGE:
"As for her own red-faced moment on air, Hudson recalled how she coined a somewhat racy spoonerism in a reference to Killorglin's Puck Fair."
Seán McCárthaigh; AA Roadwatch Broadcasters Celebrate 21 Years; Irish Examiner (Cork, Ireland); Aug 31, 2010.

See more usage examples of spoonerism in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
As freely as the firmament embraces the world, / or the sun pours forth impartially his beams, / so mercy must encircle both friend and foe. -Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller, poet and dramatist (1759-1805)

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