Grammar Check, Spell Check & Proofreading – Ginger
English Online

Palindromes - Words and Sentences that Read the Same Forward and Backwards

Posted by The ginger Team | November 2nd 2011

Palindromes are words or sentences that are spelled the same when reading them regularly or backwards. Palindromes don’t necessarily have to be punctuated, or even spaced the same way from each direction, to allow for some more flexibility.

The word "palindrome" comes from Greek: palin (πάλιν; "again") and dromos (δρóμος; "way, direction"). The actual Greek phrase to describe the phenomenon is karkinikê epigrafê (καρκινικὴ επιγραφή; crab inscription), or simply karkinoi (καρκίνοι; crabs), which alludes to the backward movement of crabs.

Palindromes range from very short words (such as ‘mom’, ‘bob’, ‘Abba’) to very long sentences. The longest palindrome word is tattarrattat, used by James Joyce in Ulysses to describe a knock on the door.

Palindrome sentences are a little trickier to create. Notice that in palindrome sentence, you don’t have to keep the same punctuation or word spacing, or they would be almost impossible.

Here are some of the most famous sentence palindromes. Some palindromes are, naturally, more obscure than others. Can you create your own palindrome?

  1. A man, a plan, a canal -- Panama
  2. Eve, mad Adam, Eve!
  3. As I pee, sir, I see Pisa!
  4. Draw, O coward!
  5. Ma is as selfless as I am.
  6. Won\'t lovers revolt now?
  7. Yo, bottoms up! (U.S. motto, boy.)

Check out this Weird Al Yankovich clip, where the entire lyrics are palindromes!