37 English Palindromes: A List of Words that Read the Same Forwards & Backwards
Unsplash: Nadim Merrikh
If you've watched the Korean drama Extraordinary Attorney Woo on Netflix, you may have noticed that the main character, Attorney Woo, would introduce her name with a list of palindromes, including kayak, rotator, deed, racecar, noon, and her name Woo Young-woo (which is also a palindrome in Korean Hangul). By doing that, she is letting others know a fun tidbit about her: her name is a palindrome.
A palindrome is any word or phrase or sentence or dates of the year that reads the same both forward and backward. Though it may sound silly and surreal, this set of wordplay has been around for centuries. In fact, one of the earliest known palindromic formations, the Sator Square, was found in 79 AD. This ancient square is a 5x5 grid and is composed of 25 letters; when the letters are put together, they form 5 Latin words that all connect with each other. The five Latin words are: Sator, Arepo, Tenet, Opera, and Rotas (“The sower Arepo holds with effort the wheels”). .
A Sator Square found on a wall in Oppède-le-Vieux, France.
By M Disdero / Creative Commons
Interestingly, it was Henry Peacham, an English poet, who coined the phrase "palindrome" sometime in 1638. The word is derived from the Greek word palindromos which means “running back again.” In 1614, the English poet John Taylor wrote the generally regarded first English palindrome sentence, “Lewd did I live, & evil I did dwel.” Then, in 1848, an unidentified J.T.R. came up with the palindrome "Able was I ere I saw Elba,” which is popularly attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte. And as more and more reversible words, phrases, and sentences have been recorded over time, this word world of English palindromes has grown. Here’s a list of examples to get you started!
- Palindrome Examples in English
- Sit on a potato pan, Otis.
- Cigar? Toss it in a can. It is so tragic.
- Go hang a salami, I’m a lasagna hog.
- Taco cat.
- Madam in Eden, I’m Adam.
- Go deliver a dare vile dog.
- Yo! Banana boy.
- Murder for a jar of red rum.
- Evil, olive!
- Oozy rat in a sanitary zoo.
- Step on no pets.
- Was it a cat I saw?
- I'm a lasagna, hang a salami.
- Kodak ad, OK.
- Naomi, Gianna, Ed, Nall, Robert, Allen, Red, Hon, Evan, Eden, Mel, Lola, Alol, Lemned, Enave, Noh, Der, Nella, Trebor, Llan, De, Anna, Ig & I moan.
- On a clover, if alive, erupts a vast pure evil; a fire volcano.
- Yawn a more Roman way.
- Top step's pup's pet spot.
- Sums are not set as a test on Erasmus.
- Stressed desserts.
- Rats drown in WordStar.
- No lemon, no melon.
- May a moody baby doom a yam?
- Never odd or even.
- Do geese see God?
- Sir, I demand, I am a maid named Iris.
- Eva, can I see bees in a cave?
- Egad! An adage!
- Gert, I saw Ron avoid a radio-van, or was it Reg?
- I made border bard’s drowsy swords; drab, red robed am I.
- Name no side in Eden, I’m mad! A maid I am, Adam mine; denied is one man.
- No, it can, as it is, it is a war. Raw as it is, it is an action.
- "Regal as tide", Kramer remarked. "It's a lager!"
- Was it Eliot's toilet I saw?
- Some men interpret nine memos.