When I use a word …: Medical GreekBMJ 1998; 316 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7134.845 (Published 14 March 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:845
- Jeff Aronson, clinical pharmacologist
The Reverend Spooner (1844-1930), warden of New College Oxford 1903-24, is well known for the verbal tic that we call a spoonerism. Spoonerisms are formed by metaplasm or metathesis, which were first defined by Henry Peachum in The garden of eloquence conteyning the figures of grammer and rhetorick (1577): “Metaplasmus, is a transformation of Letters, or syllables in single words … eyther for cause of necessity, or else to make the verse more fine” and “Metathesis, when letters be transposed in a word, and remoued from their proper places.” A good example of metathesis quoted in the Oxford English Dictionary is the change from Fastolph to Falstaff.
However, both metathesis and metaplasm seem …