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Palindromes are words, sentences, numbers that are the same forwards and backwards. Is there a term for words that are one word forwards but a different word backwards? For example, star backwards is rats, or god is dog.

marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, Misti, user66974, ermanen, Hellion Mar 13 '15 at 16:56

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  • The term is palindrome: thefreedictionary.com/Palindrome – user66974 Mar 13 '15 at 14:41
  • I don't understand the question. The palindromes of star, god are indeed rats, dog, but I don't think anyone would normally say emordnilap is a palindrome of palindrome, because it's not a valid English word. – FumbleFingers Mar 13 '15 at 14:44
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    It is, in fact, not palindrome. A palindrome requires the reading forwards and backwards to be the same. This question is clearly asking about words that are still words when backwards, but different words. – Ian MacDonald Mar 13 '15 at 14:45
  • No, palindrome is a word that can be read both ways, also with a different meaning. – user66974 Mar 13 '15 at 14:45
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    @Josh61: I have yet to find a definition for the word palindrome that does not also include the word same. – Ian MacDonald Mar 13 '15 at 15:02

The most common term for these are Semordnilaps which is just the word palindrome backwards. A more understandable, albeit less fun, term is 'reverse anagram.'

See, e.g., semordnilap

  • Isn't "semordnilaps" doubly pluralized? I would think the singular form would be "emordnilap," and the plural form would be either "semordnilap" or "emordnilaps." – sumelic Jul 11 '15 at 18:11

According to Holman's Handbook to Literature 3rd Edition, a palindrome is "A word, sentence, or verse which reads the same from left to right and from right to left. A referral to "anagrams" is given, but nowhere (Erehwon!) is there mention of the construction you reference in this inquiry.

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    One source not including it is not evidence that there is no term for the phenomenon. (Not that the answer actually said there wasn't, so it doesn't actually answer the question at all, I'm afraid.) – Andrew Leach Mar 25 '15 at 8:22

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