“Madam I’m Adam”. When I was young I was amused by this clever phrase because one could read it the same way from left to right and right to left. As my interest in words and love for word play grew along with me, I was always looking for such words or phrases. Somewhere along the way I discovered that a word, sentence, verse, or even number, that reads the same backward or forward was called a Palindrome. The English word Palindrome was created in the early 1600s based on Greek roots that literally mean “running back on itself” (palin meaning ‘again’ or ‘back’, and dromos meaning ‘running’.)
I began to collect examples of these, and was excited whenever I found one; one highlight being ‘A man, a plan, a canal-Panama’. Until I discovered that there were more avid collectors, and loads of such examples. Here is sharing some, from the daily use ones (that we do not even register as being palindromes) to the funny, clever ones.
Family–sweet and simple in any form: Mum, mom, amma, pop, dad, sis.
Moving on to mechanics–rotor, level, racecar, radar, refer, reviver, rotator, and repaper… (graduating to the next level as ‘Won’t I repaper? Repaper it now!’
Some simple (and sometimes silly) ones:
Never odd or even.
No lemons, no melon.
We panic in a pew.
Won’t lovers revolt now?
Sir, I demand, I am a maid named Iris.
Eve, mad Adam, Eve!
Never a foot too far, even.
Nurse, I spy gypsies, run!
Delia sailed as sad Elias ailed.
Ned, I am a maiden.
Some clever ones:
A hitman for hire: Murder for a jar of red rum.
A gross creature: Oozy rat in a sanitary zoo.
Call your mother: Mum
Sane advice: Do not start at rats to nod.
Weather forecast: Too hot to hoot.
Teutonic pride: I, man, am regal; a German am I.
Philosophical musing: Do geese see God?
Old cats: Senile felines.
On ET’s menu: UFO tofu
Bad eyesight: Was it a car or a cat I saw?
A moral dilemma: Borrow or rob?
And one curious one–Murdrum (the crime of killing an unknown man).
And our own and bona fide one: Malayalam!
A wonderful one that sounds like what it means: Tattarrattat—meaning a knock on the door. It was coined by James Joyce and used in Ulysses in 1922. It is also the longest palindromic word in the Oxford English Dictionary.
And last but not the least, there is even a palindromic word for an irrational fear of palindromes—aibohphobia! WOW!