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What is a Palindrome? List of Palindromes; What is a Palingram?

Stack Cats reads the same forward or backward.

Stack Cats reads the same forward or backward.

What is a Palindrome?

A word that reads the same forwards or backwards is a palindrome. Examples of simple palindromes are the words mom, dad and wow. The longest palindromic word in the English dictionary is “tattarrattat.” This word, meaning a knock on a door (You can almost hear it when saying the word), was created by James Joyce in his book Ulysses.

The Guinness Book of World Records states a nineteen letter Finnish word, “saippuakivikauppias,” which means a soapstone vendor, is the longest palindromic word that is used in everyday language.

Word Palindromes

Examples of palindromic words are:

  • level
  • rotor
  • racecar
  • madam
  • redder
  • kayak
  • sexes
  • reviver
  • reifier

For more words that are palindromes:

Types of Palindromes

Words are not the only palindromes. Phrases, sentences, numbers, dates and symbols can also be palindromes. Some names are even palindromic, such as Hannah. Examples of numerical palindromes would be 123454321 or 1098901. The numbers are the same reading each individual numeral frontwards or backwards.

Allowances are made for adjustments when it comes to punctuation, spaces and other dividers. For example, February 2, 2020 could be written as 02/02/2020. When reversed and adjustments made for the date dividers, it is seen to be a palindrome.

Phrase or Sentence Palindromes

Examples of palindromic phrases or sentences are:

  • Madam in Eden, I’m Adam.
  • A man, a plan, a canal, Panama
  • Never odd or even
  • Rise to vote sir
  • Rats live on no evil star.
  • A Toyota’s a Toyota.
  • Dennis and Edna sinned.
  • Was it a bar or a bat I saw?
  • Steven, I left an oily lion at feline vets.
  • Poor Dan is in a droop.
  • Ma is as selfless as I am.

For many more palindromic phrases or sentences:

A Palindrome - So Simple and Yet So Brilliant!

As we have seen that a palindrome reads the same backwards as it does forwards. It's almost like a word trick. This video is especially good at this word trick. As this video plays, you will see the words as a young lady reads them, and then the screen reverses and she reads the same sentences, but this time in reverse. And amazingly, as it is read in reverse, the meaning of what is being read means the exact opposite. It is a brilliant use of words. Read along with her in both directions and I think you too will be amazed at this brilliant play of words.

This video was submitted in an AARP contest titled "u@50" by a 20-year old. This video won second place in the contest, but when it was shown, everyone in the room was stunned by its brilliance. I believe you will be also.

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The oldest palindrome is also a Latin word square.

The oldest palindrome is also a Latin word square.

How Old is the Palindrome?

The oldest known palindrome, believed to date back to 79 AD, is also a Latin word square. (See picture to the right.) Looking at the word square, “Sator Arepo Tenet Opera Rotas,” you will see that the words can be read horizontally or vertically. The words can also be read from the upper left to the lower right, or from the lower right to the upper left.

What is a Palingram?

A palindrome is a kind of palingram – a letter palingram. A palingram can also be created using syllables or words, in addition to individual letters. An example of this using words is, “He was, was he?” Notice that the words can be reversed and the sentence still reads the same. A sentence that is a palingram and a palindrome is, “I did, did I?”

So, What is a Palindrome?

Besides being a fun way to manipulate letters and words, it is a word, phrase, sentence, number or group of symbols that can be read in either direction and still appear the same.

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Copyright © 2011 Cindy Murdoch (homesteadbound)


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Another Interesting Take on the Palindrome

Comments: What is a Palindrome? List of Palindromes; What is a Palingram?

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on January 16, 2015:

Catherine ... glad you enjoyed it. Words are so fun!

Catherine Giordano from Orlando Florida on September 05, 2014:

Very interesting. I had not known about a word square before. .

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on January 24, 2014:

so glad you enjoyed it Health Reports. Words can be such fun.

Jane Wilson from Geogia on January 18, 2014:

This was a great read. Thanks for sharing!

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on September 06, 2012:

So glad you enjoyed this Astralrose

Rham Dhel from India on August 30, 2012:


Mom, pop, noon, dad...that's all I know, for now! I'll try to create my own. Voted useful and awesome!

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on April 09, 2012:

Levertis Steele - I am so glad that you enjoyed this article. And thanks so much for the Palindromes that you have added. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Levertis Steele from Southern Clime on April 09, 2012:

So interesting. I once knew a few, but I have lost most of them. Here are two:

Madam, I'M Adam.

Elbasi is able.

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on March 20, 2012:

AEvans - I don't know how you have time to look thru my hubs in the middle of a challenge. It must be that you are just really good! Thanks so much for stopping by!

Julianna from SomeWhere Out There on March 20, 2012:

Words with purpose and meaning both backward and forward. I don't know how I missed this but it is a good one! Voted up and shared! :)

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on February 01, 2012:

Specialist5 - Thank you so much. I am glad that you enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by!

Specialist5 from Norwich, CT USA on February 01, 2012:

An excellent piece. Thoroughly explained with excellent examples and videos. Exciting learning about them. Thumbs up.

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on December 13, 2011:

Sueswan - the use of palindromes in the videos was awesome. I'm glad that you enjoyed them. Brilliant is indeed a good word to describe them.

Thanks for the votes and for stopping by!

Sueswan on December 13, 2011:

Hi homestead

I enjoyed this hub. The videos were brilliant.

Voted up and awesome.

Have a good evening.

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on December 10, 2011:

mary615 - the video is good, isn't it? It's amazing the things that some people can do with words. i am happy that you enjoyed this one. Thanks for stopping by!

Mary Hyatt from Florida on December 10, 2011:

Wow! I am speechless. This was brilliant! The videos you chose were excellent. Well done! I voted you UP, etc.etc.

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on December 08, 2011:

Is it? It is! That is a palindrome also.

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on December 08, 2011:

romari - It was good to see you. I am glad that you enjoyed learning about Palindromes and Palingrams. They are very interesting for sure.

Thanks for stopping by!

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on December 08, 2011:

Rosemay50 - I really enjoyed the video also. Palindromes can really be interesting.

Thanks for stopping by!

f on December 08, 2011:


(Is this a palindrome, too?)

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on December 08, 2011:

Hi, Debby Bruck! So good to see you! I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for stopping by!

Rose Maria Rica D. Fuentes from Heaven on December 08, 2011:

wow Now I gain more knowledge..

Rosemary Sadler from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand on December 08, 2011:

This was very interesting especially the sentences. The video was aye opening

Debby Bruck on December 07, 2011:

Hi Cindy ~ You have done an awesome job on composing this hub. I've seen most of these palindromes, including the videos. They are so much fun and very often used as word games and puzzlers. You put it together very well. Blessings, Debby

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on December 07, 2011:

carriethomson - I liked the stack cats picture also. Palindromes are very interesting. They are like word magic - especially the longer phrases and sentences.

Thanks for visiting.

Cindy Murdoch (author) from Texas on December 07, 2011:

ktrapp - That video really was great, wasn't it? I too wondered what won 1st place if that entry did not. The article that i read said when it was played, it got a standing ovation afterwards.

Even more amazing as far as types of palindromes go, when you look at different languages and the symbols, they can get quite intricate.

Thanks for stopping by!

carriethomson from United Kingdom on December 07, 2011:

hi homesteadbound! the palindromes are quite interesting specially the sentences that read the same reverse, and first pic, stack cats is just soooo cute!


Kristin Trapp from Illinois on December 07, 2011:

Well, I wish I could think of something clever to write, but I truly am stunned by the brilliance of the Lost Generation video. That was truly amazing in so many ways. If that was second place, it makes me wonder what the first place entry was.

Palindromes really are very interesting, but I never knew there were so many types. This really was a fun hub to read.

~voted up, interesting, and beautiful (for the video)~

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