Palindrome is not a palindrome

There’s no reason for palindrome to actually be palindromic, because it’s built from a Greek base (palindromos) meaning to run back – I mean, it’s not an invented word cleverly designed to be what it describes. For that sort of thing, we have to look to emordnilap.

Emordnilap is not a recognized word. But it has a cult following, and that’s what got “selfie” in the dictionary. Our language is a living one, with branches that grow, change, and die off year after year.

emony, emordnilap, emory oak

Emordnilap is palindrome in reverse (which, when you think about what palindrome means, is like holding a mirror up to a mirror), and describes when a word is a wholly separate word in reverse. Think pots and stoprats and star, and so on. You can Google search for more.

While I am tickled at the idea of emordnilaps, what I think would be really interesting is the same thing across languages. A word forward in English is a Spanish word when reversed, for example. I have no idea if those words exist (and my utter lack of lingualism is a real barrier here) but I’d be thrilled to find out they do.

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