Word Fun


Two phrases are anagrams if they have the same letters, but in a different order.

Here are some good anagrams:

There are a lot of anagram sites on the web, such as


A palindrome is a word or sentence which is spelled the same backwards and forwards.

Here are some good palindromes:

Finnish has the longest palindromic words. Here are several (the longer ones are more contrived).

The longest common English palindromic word is "redivider" (9 letters). The contrived chemical term "detartrated" has 11 letters.

"Kinnikinnick," the name of a plant and also a dried leaf and bark mixture smoked by Cree indians, is not a palindrome, but it is sometimes (mis)spelled as a palindrome in two different ways: "kinnikinnik" (11 letters) and "kinnik-kinnik" (12 letters). Each half of the last palindrome is itself a palindrome.

The shortest English palindromic word, not counting one-letter words, is "aa," which is a Hawaiian word for a kind of lava.

English needs a synonym for "palindrome" that is itself a palindrome. The word should have meaningful roots, like the word "palindrome", which derives from Greek palin, again + Greek dromos, racecourse or running. Here are some candidate palindromic synonyms for palidrome.

If you can think of a better word, please send me a note.


A pangram is a sentence which uses all 26 letters. A minimal pangram uses each letter only once. The following minimal pangram describes the situation in which a wryneck woodpecker from the grasslands of Africa climbed up the side of a male bovid which is grazing on sacred Muslim-owned land:

Veldt jynx grimps waqf zho buck.

Source: Michael Jones of Chicago, in the Guinness Book.

Repeated Words

Can you correctly punctuate the following, which has 12 "hads" in a row?

Ann where Bob had had had had had had had had had had had had written next to it as a correction.


Ann, where Bob had had "had," had had "had had." "Had had" had had "had" written next to it as a correction.

(Ann and Bob were taking a grammar exam.)

The following sentence has 21 "ands" in a row:

Wouldn't the sentence "I want to put a hyphen between the words FISH and AND and AND and CHIPS in my FISH-AND-CHIPS sign" have been clearer if quotation marks had been placed before "FISH," and between "FISH" and "and," and "and" and "AND," and "AND" and "and," and "and" and "AND," and "AND" and "and," and "and" and "CHIPS," as well as after "CHIPS?"


How many words can be contracted into a single word using apostrophes? Is "I'dn't've" a legal word? It means "I would not have," as in "I'dn't've done that if I were you."