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What Are Palindromes?

They are words or phrases that read the same backward as forward. The word "bib" is a palindrome for example, as is the phrase "Madam, I'm Adam." Look carefully at the latter and you'll see that the letters are in the same order in both directions. The word, by the way, is derived from the Greek "palíndromos," meaning "running back again."

A List of One-Word Palindromes

RACECAR
DEED
LEVEL
PIP
ROTOR
CIVIC
POP
MADAM
EYE
NUN
RADAR
TOOT
KAYAK
NOON
POOP
SOLOS
POP
TOT
MOM
DAD

Single words that are palindromes are relatively easy to find. For example, to find the three-letter palindromes, just work your way through the alphabet, placing each vowel between a pair of each letter, to see if it is a word, or test the consonants between pairs of vowels. Thus "a" gives us "aba," "aha," "ala" and the name "Ana" (and a few more). "B" is good for "bob," "bib" and "bub."

It gets a little more difficult to find longer single-word palindromes. It is much more difficult when it comes to phrases or sentences, like the ones below.

A List of Palindrome Phrases

Bar crab
Borrow or rob?
Straw warts
Live evil
A man, a plan, a canal--Panama!
Delia failed.
Dennis sinned.
Evil olive
Pull up if I pull up.
Step on no pets.
Ten animals I slam in a net.
Was it a bat I saw?
Was it a car or a cat I saw?

They are fun to read, but if you really want to exercise your brainpower, try inventing your own.


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