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Started March 01, 2012 - 05:21 PM



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Words that are spelled the same backwards and forwards

What do you call words that are spelled the same backwards and forwards?

#2 bbraye Replied March 04, 2012 - 01:37 PM


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Words that are spelled the same forwards and backwards are called palindromes. Some examples of palindromes are pup, noon, eye, level, mom and tenet. You can even create full sentences and number sequences that are palindromes. Using palindromes in literature is considered to be an example of constrained writing and their use dates back to ancient Latin texts.

Palindromes are the opposite of semordnilaps, a concept possibly created by author Lewis Carroll of Alice and Wonderland fame. Semordnilap is palindrome in reverse. Semordnilaps are words that when spelled backward form an entirely different word, also in the English lexicon. For instance, stressed when spelled backward becomes desserts. Stressed and desserts are considered to be the longest semordnilaps in the English language.

#3 gw1973 Replied March 04, 2012 - 03:04 PM


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As the previous posted noted, palindromes can be entire sentences as well as single words. The sentence might be sort and simple, such as one of the most famous examples, Madam I'm Adam, or longer and more intricate such as, Anne, I vote more cars race Rome to Vienna. Perhaps the most famous palindrome ever devised is, A man a plan, a canal Panama. This example first appeared in 1948 in the publication "Notes and Queries." You can even add more words to this particular phrase and still have a palindrome. For instance, A man, a plan, a cat, a canal – Panama and A man, a plan, a cam, a yak, a yam, a canal – Panama are both palindromes, although they do not have the clarity of the original version.

#4 Hannah Rice Myers Replied March 04, 2012 - 03:55 PM

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There are appoximately 59 Palindromes, not counting foreign words or scientific terms. These include words such as ada, aha, alula, bib, bob, boob, civic, dad, deed, did, dud, eke, eve, eye, heh, huh, kook, level, Noon, nun, racecar and radar. You can combine a number of these to make a complete sentence. Mom and Bob drove a Honda civic, driving it like a racecar.

#5 redwildsparkles Replied March 05, 2012 - 07:51 PM


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My favorite palindrome:

"Go hang a salami, I'm a lasagna hog."

Doesn't make a lot of sense, but it's fun to say. :-D

In full sentences, only the letters count for making palindromes; it's ok if spaces and punctuation marks fall in different spots when you spell it backwards or forwards.

#6 fadedstar27 Replied March 06, 2012 - 11:48 PM


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As previously noted by several other posters, a word that is spelled the same forward and backward are called palindromes. These can include simple words, names or even full length sentences.

#7 Kris Replied March 13, 2012 - 11:26 AM


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Yes indeed. Any word you can spell forward and backwards are called palindromes. Tot, pop and boob are three simple ones to remember.

Mom and Bob drove a Honda civic, driving it like a racecar.

I really like that one! Excellent example in a full sentence.

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