What do a madam, a racecar, and a kayak have in common?

kayaksThey are all palindromes!

A word, phrase, or sentence that can be read forward or backward. Palindrome may also refer to numbers (like dates) read forward and backward.

Scientists and archeologists have discovered palindromes in ancient Sanskrit through Tamil poetry through English lords and ladies.

From Wikipedia

“Palindromes date back at least to 79 AD, as the palindromic Latin word square “Sator Arepo Tenet Opera Rotas” (The sower, Arepo, holds works wheels) was found as a graffito at Herculaneum [Pompeii], buried by ash in that year.”

Try these –

Step on no pets.

Dammit, I’m mad!

Never odd or even.

Here’s a mouthful of a palindromic language – Malayalam (The Dravidian language of the Indian state of Kerala).

Here are a few from Fun with Words (the notes in parentheses are mine) –

Was it Eliot’s toilet I saw? (This wouldn’t work if you spelled Elliott the right way!)

Murder for a jar of red rum. (Some days, yes, I would.)

Do geese see God? (They would if they looked up.)

Names –

Bob, Anna, Elle, Eve, Hannah, Otto, and Tut (as in the King)

Some silly ones from Palindrome List (if you want to see palindromes that are off-color, visit this site) –

Ah, Satan sees Natasha! (Run, Natasha, run!)

Nate bit a Tibetan. (Nate must have been awfully hungry.)

Go deliver a dare, vile dog! (I’ll have to remember this one, next time I’m a little p.o.’d)

Oozy rat in a sanitary zoo. (I’m not taking my grandkids to this zoo!)

Some word-unit palindromes

Fall leaves after leaves fall. (Pure poetry.)

Blessed are they that believe they are blessed. (We are all blessed!)

Did I say you never say, “Never say never?” You say I did. (Me personally, I don’t like to say never.)

Dates, Military or European –

We have one coming up on 21 February, 2012.  21/02/2012.

Or try 21 November of this year – 21/11/12.

The typical American way –

2/10/12 or…

Say 10/20/2010 out loud, “Ten, twenty, twenty-ten.”

Books –

You can buy books about palindromes like Zo’s Palindromes: P.A.L.I.N.D.R.O.M.E by Derek Chin and Diana Chin, or Sit on a Potato Pan, Otis!: More Palindromes by Jon Agee.

An absolute must-see palindromic presentation on YouTube – 

A Lost Generation, by Jonathan Reed.

Do you have a favorite palindrome? Share it with us!


Sources –



Fun with Words

Palindrome List

Photo by Aman_dabest via Photobucket


Filed under Words & Vocabulary

14 responses to “What do a madam, a racecar, and a kayak have in common?

  1. I love this!! Palindromes are sooooo cool! Will have to check out those sites 🙂

  2. Yes, this was fun to write. And I originally thought palindromes were a rather recent thing.

  3. Leave it to those darn Romans!

  4. This is a fun one. I can’t think of one, but love the Satan and Natasha one.

  5. A fun read. Palindromes are much better than cliches.

  6. No favorite but I often read words backwards – who knows why *laugh* — gnad! dwal! 😀

  7. Even before I saw your name, Kathryn, I knew it was you by the “dwal!”

  8. Pingback: Common palidromes | Tamihughson

  9. Pingback: 7 great tips to boost your vocabulary | Karen S. Elliott's Blog

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