All About Palindromes in English

Linguistics, Vocabulary & Spelling

A Palindrome is a word or phrase which can be read correctly either right-to-left or left-to-right.

These are palindromes:

  • civic
  • deified
  • dewed
  • kayak
  • level
  • madam
  • minim
  • racecar
  • radar
  • redder
  • refer
  • rotator
  • rotavator
  • rotor
  • sagas
  • solos
  • sexes
  • stats

If punctuation is ignored, then these phrases are also palindromes:

  • Do geese see God?
  • Was it Eliot’s toilet I saw?
  • Murder for a jar of red rum.
  • Some men interpret nine memos.
  • Never odd or even.
  • Don’t nod
  • Was it Eliot’s toilet I saw?
  • Are we not drawn onward, we few, drawn onward to new era?
  • Sums are not set as a test on Erasmus
  • Madam, in Eden I’m Adam
  • Ah, Satan sees Natasha
  • Lisa Bonet ate no basil
  • Dennis sinned

More on Palindromes

The word palindrome was coined from Greek roots palin (πάλιν; “again”) and dromos (δρóμος; “way, direction”) by English writer Ben Jonson in the 17th century.

Although palindromes most commonly refer to words, the term can also be applied to numbers, dates, music and so on.

The American comedian Demetri Martin constructed the following poem which reads the same way both forwards and backwards.

“Dammit I’m Mad” by Demetri Martin

Dammit I’m mad.
Evil is a deed as I live.
God, am I reviled? I rise, my bed on a sun, I melt.
To be not one man emanating is sad. I piss.
Alas, it is so late. Who stops to help?
Man, it is hot. I’m in it. I tell.
I am not a devil. I level “Mad Dog”.
Ah, say burning is, as a deified gulp,
In my halo of a mired rum tin.
I erase many men. Oh, to be man, a sin.
Is evil in a clam? In a trap?
No. It is open. On it I was stuck.
Rats peed on hope. Elsewhere dips a web.
Be still if I fill its ebb.
Ew, a spider… eh?
We sleep. Oh no!
Deep, stark cuts saw it in one position.
Part animal, can I live? Sin is a name.
Both, one… my names are in it.
Murder? I’m a fool.
A hymn I plug, deified as a sign in ruby ash,
A Goddam level I lived at.
On mail let it in. I’m it.
Oh, sit in ample hot spots. Oh wet!
A loss it is alas (sip). I’d assign it a name.
Name not one bottle minus an ode by me:
“Sir, I deliver. I’m a dog”
Evil is a deed as I live.
Dammit I’m mad.

Palindrome Video

The above video shows a parody of the Bob Dylan song and video, “Subterranean Homesick Blues” by Weird Al Yankovic. It is called “Bob” and each line is a palindrome.

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