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Witty Anagrams

An anagram is one of the most popular forms of word play that recombines all the letters of a word or phrase to create a new word or phrase. A semordnilap (the reverse spelling of palindromes) is an anagram that is the reverse spelling of a word that spells a real word; for example, desserts and stressed, or diaper and repaid. Some of the earliest anagrams, considered exemplars of wit, are found in Classical Latin writings found in the period after the first and second centuries. As the Romans discovered, the best anagrams are those that are antonyms or synonyms of the original word, or express some ironic quality.

The anagram is at the heart of board games like Scrabble, Clabbers, Boggle, and Bananagrams and puzzles like Jumble and Cryptic Crosswords. Anagrams also show up in titles of books and films: Shakespeare’s Hamlet is an anagram of the Danish Prince Amleth; Homer Hickam’s Rocket Boys was turned into a film titled, October Sky; the BBC show, Doctor Who, led to the spin-off show titled, Torchwood. Some anagrams find their way into lyrics. Jim Morrison of the Doors inserted his name into the song, L.A. Woman, as Mr. Mojo risin’. Some city names are anagrams; for example, Tokyo is an anagram of Kyoto.

Below is a list of some of the wittiest anagrams:

A telescope = To see place
An Aisle = Is a Lane
Astronomers = No more stars
Clint Eastwood = Old West Action
Conversation = Voices Rant On
Decimal Point = I’m a Pencil Dot
Desperation = A rope ends it
Dormitory = Dirty Room
Dormitories = Tidier Rooms
Elvis = Lives
Executions = Exits on Cue
I run to escape = A persecution
Listen = Silent
Madam Curie = Radium came
Magna Carta=Anagram Act
Postmaster = Stamp Store
Red Tag Sale = Great Deals
Schoolmaster = The classroom
Slot Machines = Cash Lost in’em
Spandex = Expands
The country side = No City Dust Here
The ears = Hear set
The eyes = They see
The Meaning of Life = The fine game of nil
The Morse Code = Here Come Dots
Theological Seminaries = Sole Aim: Teach Religions

For further reading: Never Odd or Even & Other Tricks Words Can Do by O.V. Michaelson, Main Street Press (1997)

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