Poor Dan is in a droop. Sit on a potato pan, Otis. What do these—admittedly very unusual—sentences have in common?
They’re palindromes. Palin-what-in-the-what-now?
What is a palindrome, and where does the word come from?
A palindrome is a word, sentence, verse, or even number that reads the same backward or forward. It derives from Greek roots that literally mean “running back” (palin is “again, back,” and dromos, “running.”)
So, a palindrome is like a word, phrase, or number that “runs back” on itself. This bit of wordplay is not the same thing as when you rearrange the letters of a word or phrase to spell another one. That’s called an anagram.
In palindromes, spacing, punctuation, and capitalization are usually ignored.
What are some examples of palindromes?
We use palindromes everyday without thinking about it. Common palindromic—that’s the adjective for palindrome—words include: noon, civic, racecar, level, and mom.
Some of our favorite palindromic phrases
- Never odd or even.
- We panic in a pew.
- Won’t lovers revolt now?
- Don’t nod.
- Sir, I demand, I am a maid named Iris.