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:
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:
- 7.10.2017 – October 7, 2017
- 02.02.2020 – February 2, 2020
- 10.02.2001 – February 10, 2001
- 01.02.2010 – February 1, 2010
- 11.02.2011 – February 11, 2011
- 02.02.2020 – February 2, 2020
- 12.02.2021 – February 2, 2021
- 04.02.2040 – February 4, 2040
- 05.02.2050 – February 5, 2050
- 06.02.2060 – February 6, 2060
- 07.02.2070 – February 7, 2070
- 08.02.2080 – February 8, 2080
- 09.02.2090 – February 9, 2090
Below is a list of one-word palindrome. Study each word closely:
- Malayalam (a language of SW India)
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?
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?
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!
- Aba, Nigeria
- Abaaba, National Park, Africa
- Abiriba, Nigeria
- Ada, Ohio, United States
- Ada, Oklahoma, United States
- Acaiaca, Brazil
- Ada, Minnesota, United States
- Ada, Serbia
- Aha, Freiburg, Germany
- Ada, Oregon, United States
- Aka, Japan
- Akasaka, Japan (Fukuoka)
- Akasaka, Japan (Tokyo)
- Akka, Morocco
- Akasaka, Japan (Okayama)
- Ala, Estonia
- Alacala, Spain
- Allagalla, Sri Lanka
- Aluula, Somalia
- Amassama, Nigeria
- Amissima, São Paulo
- Ana, Iraq
- Anahanahana, Madagascar
- Anina, Romania
- Anna, Estonia
- Anna, Texas, United States
- Apapa, Nigeria
- Anna, Ohio, United States
- Apopa, El Salvador
- Anna, Illinois, United States
- Aramara, Australia
- Arrawarra, Australia
- Assamassa, Portugal
- Ateleta, Italy (L’Aquila)
- Aukkua, Finland
- Ava, Missouri, United States
- Báb, Slovakia
- Callac, France
- Capac, Michigan, United States
- Caraparac, Peru
- Catac, Peru
- Civic, Australia
- Daba Qabad, Somalia
- Dabababad, Iran
- Dibid, Sierra Leone
- Dörröd, Sweden
- Ede, Netherlands
- Ede, Nigeria
- Ekalaka Lake, Montana, United States
- Eleele, Hawaii, United States
More Place Palindromes
- Eleyele, Nigeria
- Ellemelle, Belgium
- Epe, Netherlands
- Etsaste, Estonia
- Eye, Cambridgeshire, England
- Eye, Suffolk, England
- Gadag, Karnataka, India
- Gaqag, China
- Glenelg, Australia
- Eye, Herefordshire, England
- Glenelg, Highland, Scotland
- Glenelg, Maryland, United States
- Hajjah, Yemen
- Hannah, Lincolnshire, England
- Hannah, South Carolina, United States
- Harrah, Oklahoma, United States
- Hannah, North Dakota, United States
- Harrah, Washington, United States
- Hattah, Australia
- Iai, Angola
- Ibi, Burkina Faso
- Iaracarai, Brazil
- Ibi, Nigeria
- Ibi, Spain
- Idappadi, Tamil Nadu, India
- Idi, Indonesia
- Illi, Estonia
- Ili, China
- Illi, Armenia
- Illi, Iran
- Illibilli, Sudan
- Ini, Nigeria
- Iriri, Brazil
- Isakasi, Albania
- Itatí, Argentina
- Jaj, Lebanon
- Jakaj, Albania
- Janaj, Albania
- Kahak, Iran
- Kalak, Republic of Azerbaijan
- Kanakanak, Alaska, United States
- Kangnak, North Korea
- Kinikinik, Alberta, Canada
- Kinikinik, Colorado, United States
- Kivik, Sweden
- Krape Park, Illinois, United States
- Krk, Croatia
- Kuk, Slovenia
- Kuuk, Greenland
- La Sal, Utah, United States
More Place Palindromes
- Lal Lal, Australia
- Laval, France
- Laval, Quebec, Canada
- Lellel, Mali
- Levél, Hungary
- Level, Ohio, United States
- Lol, Dordogne, France
- Maam, Ireland
- Madaradam, Chad
- Madoko Dam, Zimbabwe
- Matam, Senegal
- Mujum, Tajikistan
- Mullum Mullum, Victoria, Melbourne
- Na’an, Israel
- Nagubugan, Philippines
- Navan, Ireland
- Navan, Ontario, Canada
- Nerren Nerren, Western Australia
- Neuquén, Argentina
- Nin, Croatia
- Notton, West Yorkshire, England
- Noxon, Montana, United States
- Noyon, France
- Obo, Central African Republic
- Oeo, New Zealand
- Oko, Nigeria
- Okonoko, West Virginia, United States
- Oktahatko, Florida, United States
- Olo, Indonesia
- Onano, Italy
- Ono, Pennsylvania, United States
- Oro, Estonia
- Oro, Nigeria
- Oruro, Bolivia
- Oso, Washington, United States
- Otto, New York, United States
- Owo, Nigeria
- Oyo, Nigeria
- Pap, Hungary
- Pap, Uzbekistan
- Parap, Australia
- Paraparap, Australia
- Pop, Uzbekistan
- Qaanaaq, Greenland
- Ratana Tar, Pakistan
- Rattar, Highland, Scotland
- Reber, New York, United States
- Reber, Slovenia
- Remer, Minnesota, United States
- Renner, South Dakota, United States
Additional Examples of Place Palindromes
- Ruppur, Bangladesh
- Sajas, France
- Salas, Spain
- Selles, Eure, France
- Selles, Pas-de-Calais, France
- Semmes, Alabama, United States
- Selles, Haute-Saône, France
- Senones, Vosges, France
- Serres, Hautes-Alpes, France
- Selles, Marne, France
- Serres, Aude, France
- Serres, Greece
- Silagalis, Lithuania
- Serres, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France
- Staats, Germany
- Tassat, France
- Tassessat, Niger
- Tát, Hungary
- Tesset, Johannesburg, South Africa (Tesset PTY Ltd)
- Tét, Hungary
- Tut, South Khorasan, Iran
- Tommot, Russia
- Tut, Razavi Khorasan, Iran
- Tubbut, Australia
- Tut, Markazi, Iran
- Tumut, Australia
- Tut, Lorestan, Iran
- Tut, Yazd, Iran
- Uku, Estonia
- Utu, Estonia
- Vellev, Denmark
- Wadaw, Burma
- Wakaw, Saskatchewan, Canada
- Wallaw, England
- Ward Draw, South Dakota, United States
- Wassamassaw, South Carolina, United States
- Yessey, Russia
- 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:
- A car, a man, a maraca
- A dog, a plan, a canal:
- A man, a plan, a canal, Panama. (A reference to President Theodore Roosevelt).
- A tin mug for a jar of gum, Nita.
- A Toyota.
- Avid diva
- Cain: a maniac.
- Drab as a fool, aloof as a bard.
- Drat Saddam, a mad dastard!
- Goldenrod-adorned log.
- Laminated E.T. animal.
- Lonely Tylenol.
- My gym
- Never odd or even
- No cab, no tuna nut on bacon.
- No lemon no melon
- Not so, Boston.
- On a clover, if alive, erupts a vast, pure evil; a fire volcano.
- Party booby trap.
- Senile felines
- So many dynamos
- Stack cats
- Top spot
- Yo, banana boy!
- Yo, Bob! Mug o’ gumbo, boy!
- 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.
- A new order began, a more Roman age bred Rowena.
- A Toyota’s a Toyota.
- Able was I ere I saw Elba. (Napoleon made this statement on his first sighting of Elba, the island where he was exiled).
- Animal loots foliated detail of stool lamina.
- Anne, I vote more cars race Rome to Vienna.
- Are we not drawn onward to new era?
- Are we not drawn onward, we few, drawn onward to new era?
- As I pee, sir, I see Pisa.
- Bombard a drab mob.
- Cigar? Toss it in a can. It is so tragic.
- Dammit, I’m mad!
- Delia saw I was ailed.
- Denim axes examined.
- Dennis and Edna sinned
- Desserts, I stressed
- Did I draw Della too tall, Edward? I did?
- 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!
- Doc, note I dissent: a fast never prevents a fatness. I diet on cod.
- Don’t nod.
- Drab as a fool, aloof as a bard.
- Draw pupil’s lip upward.
- Draw, O coward!
- Ed, I saw Harpo Marx ram Oprah W. aside.
- Eva, can I stab bats in a cave?
- Evil did I dwell; lewd I did live.
- Gateman sees name, garageman sees name tag.
- Go hang a salami; I’m a lasagna hog.
- Golf? No sir, prefer prison-flog.
- Harass sensuousness, Sarah.
More Sentence Palindromes
- I did, did I?
- Lay a wallaby baby ball away, Al.
- I maim nine men in Miami.
- Lepers repel.
- I roamed under it as a tired, nude Maori.
- Is it I? It is I!
- Let O’Hara gain an inn in a Niagara hotel.
- Live not on evil.
- Lived on Decaf; faced no Devil.
- Ma is a nun, as I am.
- Ma is as selfless as I am.
- Madam, I’m Adam.
- Madam, in Eden, I’m Adam.
- Marge lets Norah see Sharon’s telegram.
- May a moody baby doom a yam!
- Meet animals; laminate ’em.
- Mr. Owl ate my metal worm.
- No lemon, no melon.
- Naomi, did I moan?
- No lemons, no melon.
- No sir — away! A papaya war is on.
- No, Mel Gibson is a casino’s big lemon.
- Not New York.” Roy went on.
- No trace – not one carton.
More Sentence Palindrome Examples
- On a clover, if alive, erupts a vast, pure evil; a fire volcano.
- Poor Dan is in a droop
- Race fast, safe car.
- Red rum, sir, is murder
- Reviled did I live, said I, as evil I did deliver.
- Rise to vote, sir.
- Saw tide rose? So red it was
- Sit on a potato pan Otis
- Some men interpret nine memos.
- Stab nail at ill Italian bats.
- Stella won no wallets.
- Step on no pets.
- Steven, I left an oily lion at feline vets
- Stop! Murder us not, tonsured rumpots!
- Straw? No, too stupid a fad; I put soot on warts
- Eliot, top bard, notes putrid tang emanating, is sad. I’d assign it a name: gnat dirt upset on drab pot-toilet.
- Tarzan raised Desi Arnaz’ rat.
- Ten animals I slam in a net.
- Was it a car or a cat I saw?
- Too bad, I hid a boot.
- Was it a cat I saw?
- Wonder if Sununu’s fired now.
- Was it a rat I saw?
- Won’t I panic in a pit now?
- Won’t lovers revolt now?
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
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
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.
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.
- Father Charles goes down and ends battle (Battle ends and down goes Charles’ father)
- Jimmy loves Mom (Mom loves Jimmy)
- Girl, bathing on Bikini, eyeing boy, finds boy eyeing bikini on bathing girl.”
- First Ladies rule the State and state the rule: ladies first.
- Fall leaves as soon as leaves fall.
- “Come, shall I touch you wherever, darling? I am so randy.” “So am I, darling; wherever you touch I shall come.”
- You can cage a swallow, can’t you, but you can’t swallow a cage, can you.
- So patient a nurse to nurse a patient so.
- One for all and all for one.
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.
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Palindrome. (2017). Encyclopædia Britannica. Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica.