Palindromes are words, sentences,j numbers, or sequences of characters that read the same forward and backward. Some examples include “kayak”, “level” and “1331”. There are also palindromes that are longer such as:
Was it a car or a cat I saw?
Too bad! I hid a boot!
A nut for a jar of tuna.
Are we not drawn onward to new era?
Step on no pets.
Word-unit palindromes are words, instead of letters, that read the same in reverse. Here are a few examples:
Is it weird how saying sentences backward create backward sentences saying how weird it is?
Good little student does plan future, but future plan does student little good.
Mind your own business: Own your mind.
You can cage a swallow, can’t you, but you can’t swallow a cage, can you?
Fall leaves as soon as leaves fall.
Palindromes have been around for thousands of years, but the word “palindrome” itself was coined in 1638 by Henry Peacham. It is derived from the Greek Palindromos, which literally means “running back again”, from Palin (again) and drom- (from dramein, which means “to run”).
Here are 11 fun facts about palindromes:
Si nummi immunis is a Latin palindrome which was popular among Roman lawyers. It means “Give me my fee, and I’ll warrant you free.”
Language name palindromes:
MALAYALAM – a Southwestern Indian language.
OOLOOPOOLOO – an Australian dialect.
There is a genus of spiders in which all five species under it are palindromes (Palindroma aleykyela, P. avonova, P. morogorom, P. obmoimiombo, and P. sinis). The genus is aptly named Palindroma.
The 3rd Movement of Josef Haydn’s Symphony No. 47, “Minuetto al Roverso”, is a palindrome.
The second half of the Minuet is the same as the first half but played backward. This is why this symphony is also known as “The Palindrome”.
While a palindrome is a word that read the same forward and backward, a semordnilap is a word that, when reversed, results to a different word. Some examples include: DELIVERED (REVILED), DRAWER (REWARD) and LOOTER (RETOOL).
“GATEMAN, sides reversed, is NAMETAG” is another example of a semordnilap and the sentence itself is a palindrome.
SENSUOUSNESSES is said to be a circular palindrome. It is not a palindrome, but when written in a circular manner as shown below, it can be read the same both clockwise and counterclockwise.
Charles Turner noted that EYE is a palindrome in English, Polish (OKO) and Spanish (OJO).
Even temperature conversions between Celsius and Fahrenheit can produce palindromes:
SOS by ABBA is the only Hot 100 song wherein both the title and the artist are palindromes.
There is a curious Czech legend which said that the construction of the Charles Bridge commenced at 5:31am on the 9th day of July 1357 with the first brick was laid by Roman Emperor Charles IV. The Emperor, who believed in numerology, thought that this particular time is significant as it formed a palindrome (1357 9/7 5:31).
Bonus Fact: This is Fact Gems’ first post and it is posted on December 2, 2021, a palindromic date (12/02/2021).References
- Anu Garg, A Word a Day: A Romp Through Some of the Most Unusual and Intriguing Words in English, 2003.
- Paul Anthony Jones, A Cabinet of Linguistics Curiosities, 2016.
- Dmitri Borgmann, Language on Vacation: An Olio of Orthographical Oddities, 1965.
- Gideon Haigh, The Uncyclopedia, 2004.+`
- A Collection of Word Oddities and Trivia, Page 5
- Word-Unit Palindromes
- Charles Bridge