Palindromes are the most symmetrical words and phrases you’ll ever encounter. Also, the most amusing, when you think of the nonsense and ambiguous meanings that can come from trying to achieve perfect syntactical harmony. Here are ten for those who like to read things front to back (and then back to front again).
Not on the list are the ones we’ve heard a million times (e.g. “race car,” “go hang a salami, I’m a lasagna hog,” etc.) or any “a man, a plan…Panama” derivatives on which record-breaking, 15-thousand-word-plus palindromes are built, but rather the most tickle-inducing palindromes to stumble upon haphazardly.
(Note: these entries and a ton more appear on Palindromelist.net, a great site for word geeks.)
Ironically, “aibohphobia” is the fear of palindromes. Which begs the question: how can a doctor diagnose this condition in all sensitivity? Actually, this term is a facetious one, rather than a clinical one, appearing in a satirical dictionary of computer terms called the Computer Contradictionary. In that way, it is not even technically a real word but, since being coined, it has been picked up and run away with enough to where you can’t consider it any less of a word than Facebook (v).
This word (a real one) is a language; in particular, one that is spoken in Southern India. A derivative of Sanskrit and Tamil, the Malayalam alphabet contains the most letters of all the Indian languages. And if you think this word is too obscure to be uttered nonchalantly, more than 50 million people who speak the language would beg to differ.
8. Ya, Decaf. FACE DAY!!
Here is the first of the amusing, largely-nonsensical palindromic phrases. How many times do you find yourself expressing to your decaffeinated beverage that today is, in fact, the esoteric holiday known as “Face Day”? Not often, presumably.
7. Won’t I Panic In A Pit Now?
Wouldn’t we all panic in a pit? If that pit is an orchestra pit, that panic is known as stage fright. This is one palindromic phrase of several that uses “won’t” and “now” as end caps, the usual formula for constructing such a phrase being to burn the candle at both ends and work from the outside in.
6. Too Far, Edna. We Wander Afoot
The journey being described to Edna is both long yet inevitable. Another palindrome that doubles as a sort of Confucianist expression, great wisdom is shown to derive from pure and utter meaninglessness. Meaningful meaninglessness it is; Yoda must’ve penned this one.
5. Test Tube Butt Set
Yes, a test tube butt set: part of every young chemist’s lab set. Although, what kind of experiments would be performed using such a set sounds pretty frightening. This grouping of words is simple, yet incredibly amusing in how it manages to maintain a scientific theme in the presence of said butt.
4. Ten Animals I Slam In A Net
We would all love to know which animals those are that the creator of this phrase makes a habit of “slamming in a net.” Completely meaningful, this phrase is one of the better that makes absurd humor of strategic word configuration.
3. Swap God For A Janitor; Rot In A Jar Of Dog Paws
This palindrome evokes the movies Bruce Almighty and The Island of Doctor Moreau; how else but through a palindrome could you arrive at such a bizarre pairing of images, other than for the fact that the title characters in each “play God” by some means or another. The latter part about the dog paws sounds like the cruelest kind of insult you could possibly hurl at one of your enemies.
2. No, Mel Gibson Is A Casino’s Big Lemon
Agreed, Mel Gibson is a casino’s big lemon. Like a casino, he’s extremely wealthy and, like a lemon, he leaves a bitter taste in your mouth even though he looks so sweet and harmless in pictures. The creator of this palindrome deserves to be applauded, and to be in charge of coming up with the title for Mel Gibson’s next big action franchise (Mel Gibson is…A Casino’s Big Lemon…coming soon to a theater near you).
1. T. Eliot, Top Bard, Notes Putrid Tang Emanating, Is Sad. I’d Assign It A Name: Gnat Dirt Upset On Drab Pot-Toilet
For a crock of randomness, this phrase is surprisingly coherent: T. Eliot likely refers to poet T.S. Eliot (he is identified as “top bard”), as a malodorous scene is depicted (“putrid tang emanating”), one which said “top bard” is “sad” and “gnat dirt upset” about. It appears our poet wishes for a more pleasant, perhaps cleaner, bathroom experience.