What is Palindrome (Meaning, Types & Examples)

What is Palindrome? (Meaning, Types & Examples)

Hello there! I am glad you are reading this post. There are certainly many things we need to know and I am sure you must have heard the word “Palindrome.” What sense did you make of it? Do you know what it means? Do you know the different types that exist? Well, I have carefully put together this post What is Palindrome? (Meaning, Types & Examples) to enlighten you on this concept.

What is a Palindrome?

A palindrome is a word, a phrase, a verse, a number or a sentence, the letters of which, when taken in reverse order, give the same word, phrase, verse, number or sentence. In other words, a palindrome is a text that reads or spells the same forward and backward. If you read or spell the text backwards or forwards, it will yield the same thing. Did I hear you ask if such words exist? Certainly! There are many of such in English and it is really amazing! However, you need to know right away that spaces and punctuation are not taken into consideration when we generate sentences that are palindromic.

Palindromes vs Palingrams

There is yet another concept closely related to palindromes. It is known as Palingram. What is their relationship? Palindromes are a type of Palingram precisely referred to as Letter Palingrams. Palingram? I know you are keen to know what it is! A Palingram is simply a sentence in which the letters, syllables, or words read the same backward as they read forward.

Consider the sentence, “He was, was he?” This is a word Palingram as the words read the same when we place them in converse direction. Another example is, “live on no evil”. The sentence, “I did, did I?” is not only a word palingram but a letter palingram and can equally be considered as a palindrome.

Etymology of Palindrome

Can you guess the time the word ‘palindrome’ was added to the English lexicon? I’m sure you may not know! Let me tell you right away… From history, the word ‘palindrome’ came into use in the English language around 1629! Wow! That was a long time ago! The word had been in existence since the early 17th Century! Now, let us learn a little Greek. Do bear in mind that most English words have their origins in the Greek language. See the post Nouns and their Plural Forms for more explanation.

So, the word ‘palindrome’ is from the Greek word ‘palindromos’ which means ‘running back again’. Now, we can still break ‘palindromos’ into two other Greek words: ‘palin’ which means ‘back, again’ and ‘dramein’ which means ‘to run’! So put together, we have ‘running back again’, ‘palindromos’ and in English ‘palindrome’! Make sure you do not keep this knowledge to yourself, be kind enough to share with your friends and educate them. Let us proceed to see palindromic (that’s the adjective of the noun, palindrome or palindromist) texts.

Palindrome Types and Examples

As noted above, there are different types of palindromic texts. These include number or numeric palindromes, single or one-word palindromes, name palindromes, phrase palindromes and sentence palindromes. Let us proceed to look at various examples of the different palindrome types:

Numeric Palindromes

Numbers can also be palindromic. Number palindromes are common with dates, though this depends on the style of date adopted – British or American or the date format adopted. You may generate yours to see if it is palindromic! The following are palindrome number examples which could be in the form of dates or years:

  1. 7.10.2017 – October 7, 2017
  2. 02.02.2020 – February 2, 2020
  3. 10.02.2001 – February 10, 2001
  4. 01.02.2010 – February 1, 2010
  5. 11.02.2011 – February 11, 2011
  6. 02.02.2020 – February 2, 2020
  7. 12.02.2021 – February 2, 2021
  8. 04.02.2040 – February 4, 2040
  9. 05.02.2050 – February 5, 2050
  10. 06.02.2060 – February 6, 2060
  11. 07.02.2070 – February 7, 2070
  12. 08.02.2080 – February 8, 2080
  13. 09.02.2090 – February 9, 2090
  14. 1111
  15. 1221
  16. 1331
  17. 1441
  18. 1551
  19. 1661
  20. 1771
  21. 1881
  22. 1991
  23. 2002
  24. 23832

 

One-Word Palindrome

Below is a list of one-word palindrome. Study each word closely:

  1. Alula
  2. Bib
  3. Bob
  4. Civic
  5. Dad
  6. Deed
  7. Deified
  8. Deleveled
  9. Detartrated
  10. Did
  11. Eke
  12. Ere
  13. Eye
  14. Gag
  15. Gig
  16. Kayak
  17. Level
  18. Madam
  19. Malayalam (a language of SW India)
  20. Mam
  21. Minim
  22. Mom
  23. Mum
  24. Noon
  25. Nun
  26. Peep
  27. Pop
  28. Pup
  29. Racecar
  30. Radar
  31. Redder
  32. Redivider
  33. Refer
  34. Repaper
  35. Reviver
  36. Rotator
  37. Rotavator
  38. Rotor
  39. Sagas
  40. Sexes
  41. Solos
  42. Stats
  43. Tenet
  44. Terret
  45. Tot
  46. Wow

The Longest Palindromic Word in English

Do you know James Joyce? A woman? No, he was a man! A renowned novelist. He was born in Dublin, Ireland on 2nd Feb. 1882 and he died on 13th Jan. 1941 in Zürich, Switz. He was popular for his experimental use of language. He invented the longest palindromic word in the English dictionary in his book Ulysses, published in 1922. However, the Guinness Book of Records ascribes the longest word in English to “detartrated” which means to remove tartrates.

Let us go back to James Joyce. Do you know the word he invented? It is “tattarrattat”, meaning “a knock on a door”. Try to pronounce it! It is an onomatopoeic word, a word imitative of the sound associated with the action the word denotes. The focus is on English, other languages have their longest palindromic words. For instance, the Guinness Book of World Records listed “saippuakivikauppias,” a 19-letter word meaning “a soapstone vendor”, as the longest palindromic word in the Finnish language. Can you think of the longest palindrome in the words of your own language?

Name Palindromes

These name palindromes cut across most cultures and languages and are not limited to the English language. Can you recognise any in your language or culture?

  1. Aba
  2. Abba
  3. Ada
  4. Adda
  5. Afifa
  6. Ahsha
  7. Aidia
  8. Ailia
  9. Aisia
  10. Aja
  11. Ala
  12. Alala
  13. Aleela
  14. Alela
  15. Alila
  16. Alla
  17. Alula
  18. Alyla
  19. Ama
  20. Amma
  21. Ana
  22. Anana
  23. Anina
  24. Anna
  25. Ara
  26. Arora
  27. Arra
  28. Asa
  29. Assa
  30. Ata
  31. Ava
  32. Aviva
  33. Avva
  34. Awa
  35. Axa
  36. Aya
  37. Aza
  38. Aziza
  39. Azza
  40. Bob
  41. Ece
  42. Efe
  43. Ege
  44. Elle
  45. Eme
  46. Emme
  47. Eve
  48. Habibah
  49. Halah
  50. Hallah
  51. Hannah
  52. Havah
  53. Hawah
  54. Hayah
  55. Ireri
  56. Itati
  57. Ivi
  58. Izzi
  59. Kilik
  60. Laval
  61. Lawal
  62. Layal
  63. Lul
  64. Luul
  65. Maham
  66. Maram
  67. Nalan
  68. Naman
  69. Nan
  70. Natan
  71. Navan
  72. Nayan
  73. Neven
  74. Nitin
  75. Nolon
  76. Nosson
  77. Otto
  78. Ramar
  79. Reinier
  80. Renner
  81. Sabas
  82. Sahas
  83. Savas
  84. Savvas
  85. Siris
  86. Sylys
  87. Umu
  88. Yanay

Place Palindromes

As with names, there are also locations and places that are palindromic. We have sourced popular ones here for your reading pleasure. Some of these place names are shared by different locations in a number of countries. Do not forget to look out for your country!

  1. Aba, Nigeria
  2. Abaaba, National Park, Africa
  3. Abiriba, Nigeria
  4. Ada, Ohio, United States
  5. Ada, Oklahoma, United States
  6. Acaiaca, Brazil
  7. Ada, Minnesota, United States
  8. Ada, Serbia
  9. Aha, Freiburg, Germany
  10. Ada, Oregon, United States
  11. Aka, Japan
  12. Akasaka, Japan (Fukuoka)
  13. Akasaka, Japan (Tokyo)
  14. Akka, Morocco
  15. Akasaka, Japan (Okayama)
  16. Ala, Estonia
  17. Alacala, Spain
  18. Allagalla, Sri Lanka
  19. Aluula, Somalia
  20. Amassama, Nigeria
  21. Amissima, São Paulo
  22. Ana, Iraq
  23. Anahanahana, Madagascar
  24. Anina, Romania
  25. Anna, Estonia
  26. Anna, Texas, United States
  27. Apapa, Nigeria
  28. Anna, Ohio, United States
  29. Apopa, El Salvador
  30. Anna, Illinois, United States
  31. Aramara, Australia
  32. Arrawarra, Australia
  33. Assamassa, Portugal
  34. Ateleta, Italy (L’Aquila)
  35. Aukkua, Finland
  36. Ava, Missouri, United States
  37. Báb, Slovakia
  38. Callac, France
  39. Capac, Michigan, United States
  40. Caraparac, Peru
  41. Catac, Peru
  42. Civic, Australia
  43. Daba Qabad, Somalia
  44. Dabababad, Iran
  45. Dibid, Sierra Leone
  46. Dörröd, Sweden
  47. Ede, Netherlands
  48. Ede, Nigeria
  49. Ekalaka Lake, Montana, United States
  50. Eleele, Hawaii, United States

More Place Palindromes

  1. Eleyele, Nigeria
  2. Ellemelle, Belgium
  3. Epe, Netherlands
  4. Etsaste, Estonia
  5. Eye, Cambridgeshire, England
  6. Eye, Suffolk, England
  7. Gadag, Karnataka, India
  8. Gaqag, China
  9. Glenelg, Australia
  10. Eye, Herefordshire, England
  11. Glenelg, Highland, Scotland
  12. Glenelg, Maryland, United States
  13. Hajjah, Yemen
  14. Hannah, Lincolnshire, England
  15. Hannah, South Carolina, United States
  16. Harrah, Oklahoma, United States
  17. Hannah, North Dakota, United States
  18. Harrah, Washington, United States
  19. Hattah, Australia
  20. Iai, Angola
  21. Ibi, Burkina Faso
  22. Iaracarai, Brazil
  23. Ibi, Nigeria
  24. Ibi, Spain
  25. Idappadi, Tamil Nadu, India
  26. Idi, Indonesia
  27. Illi, Estonia
  28. Ili, China
  29. Illi, Armenia
  30. Illi, Iran
  31. Illibilli, Sudan
  32. Ini, Nigeria
  33. Iriri, Brazil
  34. Isakasi, Albania
  35. Itatí, Argentina
  36. Jaj, Lebanon
  37. Jakaj, Albania
  38. Janaj, Albania
  39. Kahak, Iran
  40. Kalak, Republic of Azerbaijan
  41. Kanakanak, Alaska, United States
  42. Kangnak, North Korea
  43. Kinikinik, Alberta, Canada
  44. Kinikinik, Colorado, United States
  45. Kivik, Sweden
  46. Krape Park, Illinois, United States
  47. Krk, Croatia
  48. Kuk, Slovenia
  49. Kuuk, Greenland
  50. La Sal, Utah, United States

More Place Palindromes

  1. Lal Lal, Australia
  2. Laval, France
  3. Laval, Quebec, Canada
  4. Lellel, Mali
  5. Levél, Hungary
  6. Level, Ohio, United States
  7. Lol, Dordogne, France
  8. Maam, Ireland
  9. Madaradam, Chad
  10. Madoko Dam, Zimbabwe
  11. Matam, Senegal
  12. Mujum, Tajikistan
  13. Mullum Mullum, Victoria, Melbourne
  14. Na’an, Israel
  15. Nagubugan, Philippines
  16. Navan, Ireland
  17. Navan, Ontario, Canada
  18. Nerren Nerren, Western Australia
  19. Neuquén, Argentina
  20. Nin, Croatia
  21. Notton, West Yorkshire, England
  22. Noxon, Montana, United States
  23. Noyon, France
  24. Obo, Central African Republic
  25. Oeo, New Zealand
  26. Oko, Nigeria
  27. Okonoko, West Virginia, United States
  28. Oktahatko, Florida, United States
  29. Olo, Indonesia
  30. Onano, Italy
  31. Ono, Pennsylvania, United States
  32. Oro, Estonia
  33. Oro, Nigeria
  34. Oruro, Bolivia
  35. Oso, Washington, United States
  36. Otto, New York, United States
  37. Owo, Nigeria
  38. Oyo, Nigeria
  39. Pap, Hungary
  40. Pap, Uzbekistan
  41. Parap, Australia
  42. Paraparap, Australia
  43. Pop, Uzbekistan
  44. Qaanaaq, Greenland
  45. Ratana Tar, Pakistan
  46. Rattar, Highland, Scotland
  47. Reber, New York, United States
  48. Reber, Slovenia
  49. Remer, Minnesota, United States
  50. Renner, South Dakota, United States

Additional Examples of Place Palindromes

  1. Ruppur, Bangladesh
  2. Sajas, France
  3. Salas, Spain
  4. Selles, Eure, France
  5. Selles, Pas-de-Calais, France
  6. Semmes, Alabama, United States
  7. Selles, Haute-Saône, France
  8. Senones, Vosges, France
  9. Serres, Hautes-Alpes, France
  10. Selles, Marne, France
  11. Serres, Aude, France
  12. Serres, Greece
  13. Silagalis, Lithuania
  14. Serres, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France
  15. Staats, Germany
  16. Tassat, France
  17. Tassessat, Niger
  18. Tát, Hungary
  19. Tesset, Johannesburg, South Africa (Tesset PTY Ltd)
  20. Tét, Hungary
  21. Tut, South Khorasan, Iran
  22. Tommot, Russia
  23. Tut, Razavi Khorasan, Iran
  24. Tubbut, Australia
  25. Tut, Markazi, Iran
  26. Tumut, Australia
  27. Tut, Lorestan, Iran
  28. Tut, Yazd, Iran
  29. Uku, Estonia
  30. Utu, Estonia
  31. Vellev, Denmark
  32. Wadaw, Burma
  33. Wakaw, Saskatchewan, Canada
  34. Wallaw, England
  35. Ward Draw, South Dakota, United States
  36. Wassamassaw, South Carolina, United States
  37. Yessey, Russia
  38. Zirak Kariz, Afghanistan

Palindrome Phrases List

We classify the following under palindrome phrases because they do not contain finite verbs. Most of them are noun phrases. Take a look:

  1. A car, a man, a maraca
  2. A dog, a plan, a canal:
  3. A man, a plan, a canal, Panama. (A reference to President Theodore Roosevelt).
  4. A tin mug for a jar of gum, Nita.
  5. A Toyota.
  6. Avid diva
  7. Cain: a maniac.
  8. Drab as a fool, aloof as a bard.
  9. Drat Saddam, a mad dastard!
  10. Goldenrod-adorned log.
  11. Laminated E.T. animal.
  12. Lonely Tylenol.
  13. My gym
  14. Never odd or even
  15. No cab, no tuna nut on bacon.
  16. No lemon no melon
  17. Not so, Boston.
  18. On a clover, if alive, erupts a vast, pure evil; a fire volcano.
  19. Party booby trap.
  20. Senile felines
  21. So many dynamos
  22. Stack cats
  23. Top spot
  24. Yo, banana boy!
  25. Yo, Bob! Mug o’ gumbo, boy!
  26. Yo, bottoms up! (U.S. motto, boy.)

Palindrome Sentence Examples (Sentence Palindromes)

The following palindromes are full sentences. Try to read them both forward and backward and see if they yielded the same thing.

  1. A new order began, a more Roman age bred Rowena.
  2. A Toyota’s a Toyota.
  3. Able was I ere I saw Elba. (Napoleon made this statement on his first sighting of Elba, the island where he was exiled).
  4. Animal loots foliated detail of stool lamina.
  5. Anne, I vote more cars race Rome to Vienna.
  6. Are we not drawn onward to new era?
  7. Are we not drawn onward, we few, drawn onward to new era?
  8. As I pee, sir, I see Pisa.
  9. Bombard a drab mob.
  10. Cigar? Toss it in a can. It is so tragic.
  11. Dammit, I’m mad!
  12. Delia saw I was ailed.
  13. Denim axes examined.
  14. Dennis and Edna sinned
  15. Desserts, I stressed
  16. Did I draw Della too tall, Edward? I did?
  17. Do good? I? No! Evil anon I deliver. I maim nine more hero-men in Saginaw, sanitary sword a-tuck, Carol, I – lo! – Rack, cut a drowsy rat in Aswan. I gas nine more hero-men in Miami. Reviled, I (Nona) live on. I do, O God!
  18. Doc, note I dissent: a fast never prevents a fatness. I diet on cod.
  19. Don’t nod.
  20. Drab as a fool, aloof as a bard.
  21. Draw pupil’s lip upward.
  22. Draw, O coward!
  23. Ed, I saw Harpo Marx ram Oprah W. aside.
  24. Eva, can I stab bats in a cave?
  25. Evil did I dwell; lewd I did live.
  26. Gateman sees name, garageman sees name tag.
  27. Go hang a salami; I’m a lasagna hog.
  28. Golf? No sir, prefer prison-flog.
  29. Harass sensuousness, Sarah.

More Sentence Palindromes

  1. I did, did I?
  2. Lay a wallaby baby ball away, Al.
  3. I maim nine men in Miami.
  4. Lepers repel.
  5. I roamed under it as a tired, nude Maori.
  6. Is it I? It is I!
  7. Let O’Hara gain an inn in a Niagara hotel.
  8. Live not on evil.
  9. Lived on Decaf; faced no Devil.
  10. Ma is a nun, as I am.
  11. Ma is as selfless as I am.
  12. Madam, I’m Adam.
  13. Madam, in Eden, I’m Adam.
  14. Marge lets Norah see Sharon’s telegram.
  15. May a moody baby doom a yam!
  16. Meet animals; laminate ’em.
  17. Mr. Owl ate my metal worm.
  18. No lemon, no melon.
  19. Naomi, did I moan?
  20. No lemons, no melon.
  21. No sir — away! A papaya war is on.
  22. No, Mel Gibson is a casino’s big lemon.
  23. Not New York.” Roy went on.
  24. No trace – not one carton.

More Sentence Palindrome Examples

  1. On a clover, if alive, erupts a vast, pure evil; a fire volcano.
  2. Poor Dan is in a droop
  3. Race fast, safe car.
  4. Red rum, sir, is murder
  5. Reviled did I live, said I, as evil I did deliver.
  6. Rise to vote, sir.
  7. Saw tide rose? So red it was
  8. Sit on a potato pan Otis
  9. Some men interpret nine memos.
  10. Stab nail at ill Italian bats.
  11. Stella won no wallets.
  12. Step on no pets.
  13. Steven, I left an oily lion at feline vets
  14. Stop! Murder us not, tonsured rumpots!
  15. Straw? No, too stupid a fad; I put soot on warts
  16. Eliot, top bard, notes putrid tang emanating, is sad. I’d assign it a name: gnat dirt upset on drab pot-toilet.
  17. Tarzan raised Desi Arnaz’ rat.
  18. Ten animals I slam in a net.
  19. Was it a car or a cat I saw?
  20. Too bad, I hid a boot.
  21. Was it a cat I saw?
  22. Wonder if Sununu’s fired now.
  23. Was it a rat I saw?
  24. Won’t I panic in a pit now?
  25. Won’t lovers revolt now?

Magic Square

Do not be taken aback; by magic, we do not mean conjuring tricks or supposed supernatural power. Relax! We are simply talking about an inexplicable concept or skill. Having established this, what then is a magic square? It is a square matrix that is usually divided into cells filled with numbers or letters in a specific arrangement. Not only that, when we arrange the numbers or letters vertically, horizontally, forward and backward the words formed read same (from any direction). Did I hear you say ‘amazing!’ again? Really, it is! Closely examine these two sets of words and you will understand better:

R A T S

A B U T

T U B A

S T A R

≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡

S T E P

T I M E

E M I T

P E T S

Consider equally this 19th Century Latin palindromic square found on a Roman wall in Cirencester, England and in Pompeii, Italy, which has as its translation: “Arepo the sower holds the wheels with care.”

S A T O R

A R E P O

T E N N E T

O P E R A

R O T A S

Chiasmus/Reverse Parallelism

Some sentences are not completely palindromic, but they have some peculiarities about them. They can also read the same way (the words that make up the sentences) backward and forward. Some have classified them as Reverse Parallelism or Chiasmus. A Chiasmus is a literary Figure of Speech that has to do with inverted word order in phrases or sentences, like “fair is foul and foul is fair.”

Fredric Brown gave a short story as published by Futility Closet. Note that you can read the story either forward or backward and it will yield the same sense whichever way.

A Short Story

THE END

Professor Jones had been working on time theory for many years.

“And I have found the key equation,” he told his daughter one day. “Time is a field. This machine I have made can manipulate, even reverse, that field.”

Pushing a button as he spoke, he said, “This should make time run backward run time make should this,” said he, spoke he as button a pushing.

“Field that, reverse even, manipulate can made have I machine this. Field a is time.” Day one daughter his told he, “Equation key the found have I and.”

Years many for theory time on working been had Jones Professor.

END THE

Other Examples

Consider the following sentences as well; the first two sentences yield other different sentences when inverted. This is an instance of a concept known as: “Semordnilap”; which itself is the reverse form of “Palindromes”. Other sentences yield the same meaning when you read them both forward and backward.

  1. Father Charles goes down and ends battle (Battle ends and down goes Charles’ father)
  2. Jimmy loves Mom (Mom loves Jimmy)
  3. Girl, bathing on Bikini, eyeing boy, finds boy eyeing bikini on bathing girl.”
  4. First Ladies rule the State and state the rule: ladies first.
  5. Fall leaves as soon as leaves fall.
  6. “Come, shall I touch you wherever, darling? I am so randy.” “So am I, darling; wherever you touch I shall come.”
  7. You can cage a swallow, can’t you, but you can’t swallow a cage, can you.
  8. So patient a nurse to nurse a patient so.
  9. One for all and all for one.

Quiz

Wow! I am sure you have learnt a lot here on Akademia. You can check out other posts on this site and share with your friends. Can you generate a word or phrase or a sentence that is palindromic? I mean in English! You can drop it in the comments box and we can add to the collections here.

References

Microsoft® Encarta® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Palindrome. (2017). Encyclopædia Britannica. Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica.
Palingram
Palindrome
Futility Closet 
Palindromic places 
Palindromic names

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