To his amusement, Jason realized that the words Madam Curie anagrammed to Radium Came.

Is the above sentence idiomatic? I am not sure if I can use anagrammed to. If this is inacceptable, what is the best verb or verb phrase to express the desired meaning?

  • 1
    Grammatically it is correct. You don't really mean to ask if it is correct grammatically. Any past-tense verb in that position is grammatically correct. Any verb at all. Including non-existent ones. – RegDwigнt Dec 8 '15 at 16:24
  • 2
    I have edited the question accordingly. In the future, please make sure to not call things "grammar" that are not grammar. – RegDwigнt Dec 8 '15 at 16:31
  • Depends on what you mean by "established". – TylerH Dec 9 '15 at 4:34
  • Any noun can be verbed, but it weirds the language. – Dan Dec 9 '15 at 6:47
  • Obligatory xkcd reference. – T. Kiley Dec 9 '15 at 10:52

The general form is 'A is an anagram of B'

Anagram - noun

1 - a word, phrase, or sentence formed from another by rearranging its letters: “Angel” is an anagram of “glean.”.


Thus in your example:

To his amusement, Jason realized that 'Madam Curie' was an anagram of 'Radium Came'

  • 1
    Can you explain why you use "is" rather than "was" here. – Mr Lister Dec 8 '15 at 15:38
  • 3
    Because 'Madame Curie' is an anagram of 'Radium Came' throughout the continuum of time. Jason only realised it in the past. I am citing no codified rule, so I accept I may be wrong in that usage, but it is what I would say if I were to say it. – Marv Mills Dec 8 '15 at 15:44
  • But the OP and all the other examples match the tense of the comparison to the tense of the word "realized". – Mr Lister Dec 8 '15 at 15:48
  • Yeah, I know that the OP's sentence was incorrect. Personally I would have used "anagrammed" with double m. Ehm, anyway. I can't cite a rule, your sentence just feels better with was to me. Apparently, my gut feelings are a bit off. – Mr Lister Dec 8 '15 at 16:08
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    Following discussions here (ell.stackexchange.com/questions/75271/…) I defer to consensus that, although both are acceptable, the past tense is more acceptable and edit my answer accordingly. Fortunately it doesn't change the meat of my answer in relation to the OP :) – Marv Mills Dec 8 '15 at 16:54

Anagram is not a verb — although any word can be verbed, it weirds English.

The verb form is anagrammatise [ODO].

However, consider rearrange:

To his amusement, Jason realized that the words Madam Curie could be rearranged to Radium came.

  • -1 Oh that weirds everything. See my comments at OP. – Kris Feb 14 '16 at 14:59

anagram is indeed a verb, and anagrammatize its alternative form. Ngram

anagram (anagrammed; anagrammimg)

transitive verb

1: anagrammatize

2: to rearrange (the letters of a text) in order to discover a hidden message M-W

To his amusement, Jason realized that the words "Madam Curie" anagrammed into "Radium Came"

"L.A. Woman" anagrams into "AWOL Man" Google Books

  • 1
    This answer is correct. The verb (with and without -ize) is also found in Random House Kernerman as well as the OED Online. In the latter, the verb without -ize is given as being obsolete and rare, but that OED entry hasn't been updated in recent history. – JEL Dec 8 '15 at 19:21
  • This would be the right answer, (but then) in which case, the Q would be GR :) or at least found lacking in research. – Kris Feb 14 '16 at 14:52

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