3. Palindromes & Semordnilaps

Posted: 2013 年 10 月 14 日 in Logology
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A palindrome refer to a word, phrase, or sequence that reads the same backwards as forwards, that is, it can be read the same way in either direction, e.g. madam or kayak. The word palindrome was coined by seventeenth-century English author and dramatist Ben Johnson. Believe it or not, even mathematicians are interested in palindromic numbers because all numerical palindromes with an even digits are divisible by eleven. For example, the number 123321 is divisible by eleven. Statistically speaking, palindromic words with more than seven letters are rare.

One-word palindromes

  1. kayak

  2. level

  3. madam

  4. radar

  5. refer

Standard palindromes

  1. A dog! A panic in a pagoda.

  2. A man, a plan, a canal, Panama.

  3. Cain: a maniac.

  4. Desserts, I stressed.

  5. Doc note: I dissent. A fast never prevents a fatness. I diet on cod.

  6. Don’t nod.

  7. Dumb mobs bomb mud.

  8. Evil I did dwell, lewd did I live.

  9. I madam, I made radio! So I dared. Am I mad? Am I?

  10. Kay, a red nude, peeped under a yak.

  11. Madam, I am Adam.

  12. Never odd or even.

  13. Nurses run.

  14. Party trap.

  15. Put it up.

  16. Rise to vote, sir.

  17. Solo gigolos.

  18. Tulsa night life: filth, gin, a slut.

  19. Was it a car or a cat I saw?

  20. We panic in a pew.

  21. Won’t cat lovers revolt? Act now!

Word-unit palindromes

  1. All for one and one for all.

  2. King, are you glad you are king?

  3. So patient a doctor to doctor a patient so

  4. What! So he is hanged, is he? So what?

  5. You can cage a swallow, can’t you, but you can’t swallow a cage, can you?

Phonetic palindromes (A portion of sound or phrase of speech is identical or roughly identical when reversed.)

  1. crew work/ work crew

  2. easy

  3. funny enough

  4. Let Bob tell

  5. new moon

  6. Sorry, Ross

  7. Talk, Scott


When a word such as kayak can be spelled the same in either direction, it is a palindrome. It is still one word. But, when a word spelled backward, such as dam, yields another word mad, it is a semordnilap. The longest common English semordnilap is probably desserts/stressed.

  1. bin ←→ nib

  2. dam ←→ mad

  3. Dennis ←→ sinned

  4. desserts ←→ stressed

  5. diaper ←→ repaid

  6. emit ←→ time

  7. evil ←→ live

  8. gnaw ←→ Wang

  9. K.O. ←→ O.K.

Exercise: Please identify the following semordnilaps and explain the meaning of the target words.

  1. dew ←→ ___

  2. doom ←→ ____

  3. drawer ←→ ______

  4. edit ←→ ____

  5. lager ←→ _____

  6. liar ←→ ____

  7. Nemo ←→ ____

  8. part ←→ ____

  9. remit ←→ _____

  10. way ←→ ___




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