Somewhat related to this question, but I'm interested in a phrase, not just a single word.

The longest I am aware of is

A man, a plan, a canal: Panama

Are there longer palindromic phrases?

  • 3
    Seems "off topic" to me. Commented Feb 19, 2012 at 3:47
  • if only there were a palindrome that means "off topic"
    – JeffSahol
    Commented May 9, 2012 at 2:30

5 Answers 5


There is no upper limit to how long a palindrome can be. Poems have been written that are palindromes.

  • It makes sense that there is no upper limit in theory - I am curious which have been discovered and are meaningful.
    – fbrereto
    Commented Feb 28, 2011 at 18:50
  • 1
    Well, but Demetri Martin is just stringing individual palindromes together. Hardly a coherent statement.
    – Robusto
    Commented Feb 28, 2011 at 18:54
  • 2
    Only the first two and last two lines are individual palindromes.
    – Kosmonaut
    Commented Feb 28, 2011 at 19:00
  • Ah, true. I didn't notice that at first.
    – Robusto
    Commented Feb 28, 2011 at 19:04


In English, two palindromic novels have been published: Dr Awkward & Olson in Oslo by Lawrence Levine (1986, 31954 words), and Satire: Veritas by David Stephens (1980, 58795 words). In French, Oulipo writer George Perec's "Grand Palindrome" (1969) is 5,556 letters in length. In Hebrew, Ghil'ad Zuckermann wrote a 153-word palindromic story called "Lear's in Israel."

For much shorter palindromes: The first place I look for constrained writing is Mike Keith's website, and it has a few short palindromes and a story about them, though neither is as impressive as some of his other work.

  • 3
    Oh, and there's a genre of Sanskrit poetry called viloma-kavya, in which reading the verses forwards narrates one story, and reading them backwards narrates a different story. Commented Feb 28, 2011 at 19:55

The longest coherent palindromic statement sentence I've ever heard of was reported by Brendan Gill of The New Yorker, which I encountered in a book of his some years ago.

T. Eliot, top bard, notes putrid tang emanating, is sad; I'd assign it a name: gnat dirt upset on drab pot toilet.


Peter Norvig discusses this here, suggests his own, and links to another possibility.

  • 1
    Thank you! Great answer, and website. Peter Norvig is more versatile than I ever realized. Commented Feb 19, 2012 at 20:11

This is a longer palindromic phrase (though not necessarily the longest possible):

Doc, note I dissent. A fast never prevents a fatness. I diet on cod.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.