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What may be the longest single palindromic word?

Poor Dan is in a droop. Sit on a potato pan, Otis. What do these sentences have in common? They’re both palindromes. A palindrome is a word, number, sentence, or verse that reads the same backward or forward. It derives from the Greek palin dromo, which means “running back again.” In palindromes, spacing, punctuation, and capitalization are usually ignored.

(This is not the same thing as when you rearrange the letters of a word or phrase to spell another one. Find out what that’s called, here.)

We use palindromes everyday without thinking about it. Common palindromic words include noon, civic, racecar, level, and mom. The Finnish word for soapstone vender is supposedly the longest palindrome in everyday use: saippuakivikauppias. The palindrome Malayalam is also of significant length. Malayalam is a language spoken in South India. Common palindromic first names include Bob, Anna, Hannah, Eve, and Elle.

Place names can be palindromes too, such as Semmes (in Alabama) and Ward Draw (in South Dakota). Palindrome also has a meaning in biochemistry. It is a region of DNA in which the sequence of nucleotides is identical with an inverted sequence in the complementary strand. GAATTC is a palindrome of CTTAAG.

What does semordnilap spell backwards? Palindromes. The word refers to a word or phases that spells a different word or phrase backwards, such as stressed and desserts.

Mull over these palindromes, and then let us know your favorite.

• Never odd or even.

• We panic in a pew.

• Won’t lovers revolt now?

• Don’t nod.

• Sir, I demand, I am a maid named Iris.

101 Comments

  1. irather544@gmail.com -  November 12, 2016 - 11:59 am

    afifa or afeefa; a muslim girl name

    Reply
  2. Mike -  November 11, 2016 - 4:09 am

    Okay. So come on you geniuses. How about a Christian name is a palindrome?

    Reply
    • Mike -  November 11, 2016 - 4:14 am

      Sorry, I should have added “Which 6 letter Christian name). We all know EVA.

      Reply
      • Carly -  December 5, 2016 - 6:32 pm

        adida is palindrome

        Reply
    • Mike -  November 11, 2016 - 4:15 am

      Sorry! Should have said which 6 letter name. We all know EVA.

      Reply
  3. Jon -  June 29, 2016 - 6:05 am

    Poop

    Reply
    • Tess Patterson -  November 8, 2016 - 12:05 pm

      My Fav is ‘ Sir, I demand, I am a maid named Iris.’.

      Reply
  4. EllE -  June 19, 2016 - 2:12 pm

    Is it crazy how saying sentences backwards creates backwards sentences saying how crazy it is?

    Reply
  5. EllE -  June 19, 2016 - 2:11 pm

    ?Is it crazy how saying sentences backwards creates backwards sentences saying how crazy it is?
    Cool, right?

    Reply
  6. 1234DECODE -  May 17, 2016 - 11:55 am

    “Taco cat” spelled backwards is “Taco Cat”.

    Reply
    • Eve -  June 19, 2016 - 6:31 am

      ?Is it crazy how saying sentences backwards creates backwards sentences saying how crazy it Is?

      Reply
      • Latresa Burnett-Rice -  July 29, 2016 - 10:51 pm

        Just like in order to “listen”, you have to be “silent”. The exact same letters different order

        Reply
      • Latresa Burnett-Rice -  July 29, 2016 - 10:51 pm

        God gave Adam a help mate:”madam I’m Adam”

        Reply
      • Corrector -  September 10, 2016 - 5:24 pm

        That is not a palindrome you freaking moron. A palindrome reads the same forwards as backwards but nnot by words by letters again your a moron

        Reply
        • yo -  October 28, 2016 - 9:04 am

          don’t call people morons, that’s mean

          Reply
        • Michelle -  November 1, 2016 - 10:06 pm

          Before you start calling other people morons, you might want to check yourself.”not” doesn’t have two n’s. “Your” is grammatically incorrect, it’s supposed to be “you’re”. So I’d suggest if you would like to see a moron…..go look in a mirror!

          Reply
  7. Hunley Boarder -  April 21, 2016 - 6:52 pm

    how about this:

    A nut for a jar of tuna

    Reply
  8. Aaditya -  February 6, 2016 - 6:05 am

    Mom, dad, Madam, level, noon and racecar are the most common palindromes I had in my daily life.

    Reply
  9. Aaditya -  February 6, 2016 - 6:00 am

    I have too many palindromes like mom, dad, madam, level, noon and racecar.

    Reply
    • Dave -  September 9, 2016 - 3:34 pm

      exactly

      Reply
  10. sydell -  November 16, 2015 - 1:28 pm

    rats live on no evil star was my first exposure to palindromes when my 16 year old brother came home and taught it to me. I was ten years old then, I thought he was so cool. I still think he’s cool 30 plus years.

    Reply
    • Nandeesh C M -  January 16, 2016 - 6:54 am

      The South Indian Language of Kerala State called as

      “MALAYALAM” which is among the Top 25 Languages Spoken in the World, with Almost 1 Crore people Speaking it.

      So “MALAYALAM” is the Only Language name in the World(from India) whihc is a genuine PALINDROME.

      Regards,

      NANDI, Karnataka State, Bangalore, Mysore INDIA

      Reply
      • Mark Anthony -  October 12, 2016 - 3:33 am

        Malayalam is the most garbage language of the world only spoken by the garbage malayali people. Wherever they go they flock together like crows and create an unclean atmosphere with their cawing

        Reply
    • Nandeesh C M -  January 16, 2016 - 7:05 am

      Correction 5 Crore People in India, Gulf, UAE & World speak this Indian language “MALAYALAM” which Incidentally is a Palindrome..

      However .

      The Phrase Coined in Honour/Felicitation of Ex US President Theodore Roosevelt(who was the Think Tank/Master Mind/Brain Child) behind the Building of PANAMA CANAL.
      i.e

      “A MAN, A PLAN, A CANAL, PANAMA!”

      is considered the Best & Perfect & Classic PALINDROME in the History of English language & Literature..

      NANDI, India

      “GOD has Give Us All the “REAL EYES” to “REAL IZE” the “REAL LIES”

      Reply
    • jonathan -  January 16, 2016 - 6:15 pm

      Madam I’m Adam

      Reply
      • Latresa Burnett-Rice -  July 29, 2016 - 10:47 pm

        God gave Adam a help mate:”madam I’m Adam”

        Reply
  11. Lilly -  October 31, 2015 - 12:10 pm

    I think you have given me so much words I now love

    Reply
    • Stephen Brown -  November 5, 2015 - 11:16 pm

      This is the first palindrome = Lewd did I live – evil I did dwel. Which has absolutely no reflection on My own conduct but does marry well with so many on public services.

      Reply
  12. Robert -  August 25, 2015 - 1:32 pm

    So many dynamos

    Reply
    • NS -  October 5, 2015 - 5:00 pm

      Aha May! A Yamaha!

      Reply
    • Lollipoper -  October 26, 2015 - 9:32 am

      tacocat

      Reply
  13. emilio esteva -  July 25, 2015 - 10:05 am

    the longest palindrome known is “A MAN A PLAN A CANAL PANAMA” i t was coined by some United States rep or senator.

    Reply
    • NS -  October 5, 2015 - 4:51 pm

      That’s not the longest palindrome. Go Hang a Salami, I’m a lasagna hog.
      And that’s not nearly the longest one either. Do your homework.

      Reply
      • Eve -  June 19, 2016 - 6:27 am

        ?Is it crazy how saying sentences backwards creates backwards sentences saying how crazy it Is? That’s a great one in my opinion.

        Reply
    • Stephen Brown -  November 5, 2015 - 11:22 pm

      Your palindrome has 20 letters the first palindrome has 24 letters = lewd did I live – evil I did dwel.

      Reply
  14. Brittany -  April 26, 2015 - 2:41 pm

    I think that palindrome is the only use to have in a daily life. It would help lots of people when noticing how to understand the use of palindrome in a dictionary. I do love having fun with palindrome words a lot.

    Reply
    • Lilly -  October 31, 2015 - 12:14 pm

      That is such a lovely answer

      Reply
  15. nathan -  November 30, 2014 - 4:36 pm

    There is a carpet cleaning company that has used palindromes in the naming of their company. Focusing on the removal of soaps in the cleaning process so that there is zero residue left behind. The name being zerorez!
    ZEROREZ

    Reply
    • Michelle -  November 1, 2016 - 10:12 pm

      They are actually a great company. I know several people who have used them and had great results.

      Reply
  16. anonymous -  January 31, 2011 - 4:30 am

    mina en ole saippua kivi kauppias elonean im
    finnish slang for
    i am not dependent on bricked soap makers

    Reply
  17. Kate -  October 26, 2010 - 9:56 am

    These are cool!

    Reply
  18. ALLAH | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  September 10, 2010 - 10:55 am

    [...] for the Ramadan? — The Hot Word didn’t just drop the ball — it’s another Racecar DeifieD — What is respect? — A freedom Edge! — Don’t blunt it. [...]

    Reply
  19. TEETER | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  September 3, 2010 - 8:00 am

    [...] We believe we are a Progressive thinker though we often wonder why. — The stereotypes of the racecard and ethnicity deified are hard to overcome — when repetition of ignorance reinforces types of [...]

    Reply
  20. gaaraluvr4eva -  August 31, 2010 - 12:22 pm

    And, uh..Mr. Raymond, is it? Don’t laugh. I’ve been stuck behind the blackboard before….

    Reply
  21. Chris -  August 11, 2010 - 9:51 am

    “The Finnish word for soapstone vender is supposedly the longest palindrome in everyday use. Saippuakivikauppias.”

    Not having been to Finland, I can only imagine a culture in which people talk every day about soapstone vendors …

    Reply
  22. gee -  August 11, 2010 - 1:42 am

    In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni : (“We go wandering at night and are consumed by fire”)

    Reply
  23. gee -  August 11, 2010 - 1:41 am

    “Fall leaves after leaves fall”
    “You can cage a swallow, can’t you, but you can’t swallow a cage, can you?”
    “First Ladies rule the State and state the rule: ladies first”
    “Girl, bathing on Bikini, eyeing boy, sees boy eyeing bikini on bathing girl”

    In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni:: (“We go wandering at night and are consumed by fire”)

    Reply
  24. Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry -  August 8, 2010 - 6:23 pm

    The following appeared on the high school chalkboard yet though it’s not a palindrome in the usual sense, it does mean the same forward and backward:

    DRAOBKCALB EHT DNIHEB KCUTS M’I PLEH

    Reply
  25. TONGUES | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  August 8, 2010 - 1:32 pm

    [...] they called that RAP. — We be hearing our own murmuring — bout getting caught in the “Racecar” Trap. — There’s no joke hear about “INSPIRATION” or respectful blasphemy [...]

    Reply
  26. John -  August 8, 2010 - 1:08 pm

    t eliot went on a not new toilet

    Reply
  27. Great blog! -  August 6, 2010 - 8:19 am

    One I like, although it may not REALLY be a word, is ‘aibohphobia’ — which is the fear of palindromes!

    Here’s another great word: ‘hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia’ –
    which is the fear of long words!

    Reply
  28. QT -  August 6, 2010 - 12:01 am

    @Brett
    :-)

    Reply
  29. Matt -  August 5, 2010 - 11:06 pm

    The longest palindrome word in the English language is redivider.

    Reply
  30. Joe -  August 5, 2010 - 11:00 pm

    what about dammit im mad

    what about: When the rooster lays eggs, sgge syal retsoor eht nehw

    Reply
  31. Dan -  August 5, 2010 - 8:07 pm

    “Lewd did I live, evil I did dwel”

    Trying again on the rest:

    The answer to Steve’s question . . .

    What do you call a word or sentence that reads forward and backward but not the same? Like Net and Ten.

    . . . was given in the article:

    What does semordnilap spell backwards? Palindromes. The word refers to a word or phases that spells a different word or phrase backwards, such as stressed and desserts.

    Reply
  32. Dan -  August 5, 2010 - 8:04 pm

    “Lewd did I live, evil I did dwel”

    The answer to Steve’s question

    <>

    was given in the article:

    <>

    Reply
  33. MB -  August 5, 2010 - 8:01 pm

    Doc, note: I dissent. A fast never prevents a fatness. I diet on cod.

    Reply
  34. LJ -  August 5, 2010 - 7:46 pm

    Rise to vote, Sir!

    Reply
  35. joanne -  August 5, 2010 - 7:45 pm

    thanks Hans – could you translate? ive always wanted to learn german but neva got round to doing it…

    Reply
  36. Southbaysaltworks -  August 5, 2010 - 7:22 pm

    Big ups to Raymond Kenneth Petry. I was also thinking about the latest PALINdrome, “refudiate,” but he antithought it before my swit kicked into gear.

    Glossary:
    1)antithought: to think of something before it is actually thought of;
    2)swit: conjunction of “smart” and “wit,” often contrasted with dummind, a contraction of “dumb” and “mind,” or alternatively spelt “dummud” to create a super sophisticated palindrome.

    Hey, I’m just like Shakespeare, too!

    Reply
  37. Aestival -  August 5, 2010 - 7:01 pm

    Doc, note, i dissent. A fast never prevents a fatness. I diet on cod.

    Reply
  38. Madison -  August 5, 2010 - 6:53 pm

    Rats live on no evil star.
    -palidrome

    Reply
  39. Hard Taco -  August 5, 2010 - 5:20 pm

    Kayak, Sal! An Alaska Yak!

    (This assumes that you are the panicked passenger and Sal has the only oar.)

    Reply
  40. RACECAR | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  August 5, 2010 - 3:33 pm

    [...] about time that Y’ALL played the ‘RACECARD’. — Keeping it under the radar on the banner didn’t fool us. — There even was a [...]

    Reply
  41. Hans -  August 5, 2010 - 3:17 pm

    A German palindrome I like goes like:

    Ein Neger mit Gazelle zagt im Regen nie.

    Reply
  42. RICH -  August 5, 2010 - 3:04 pm

    AND BACKWARDS TOO.

    Reply
  43. RICH -  August 5, 2010 - 3:04 pm

    UKIAHHAIKU, A PALINDROME AND HAIKU SPELLED BAWARDS, UKIAH CALIFORNIA.

    Reply
  44. James H -  August 5, 2010 - 2:47 pm

    My favorite for years has been “SPACESUIT i use caps”

    Reply
  45. Jeff Knulsun -  August 5, 2010 - 2:12 pm

    11/02/2011 actually happens twice, depending on how you write the date. Once on Feb 11 and once on Nov 2.

    Reply
  46. Steve -  August 5, 2010 - 2:02 pm

    What do you call a word or sentence that reads forward and backward but not the same? Like Net and Ten.

    Reply
  47. JPOxer -  August 5, 2010 - 1:54 pm

    “Able was I ere I saw Elba!” (Napoleon’s lament!)

    Reply
  48. George Clark -  August 5, 2010 - 1:54 pm

    Taco Cat!

    Reply
  49. Alvaro A. Britto -  August 5, 2010 - 1:53 pm

    A famous palindrome sentence in Portuguese is “Subi no ônibus”, meaning “I got on the bus”.

    Reply
  50. Brett -  August 5, 2010 - 1:47 pm

    “satanoscillatemymetallicsonatas” is a palindrome, but this article was point out the longest palindrome “in every day use.” So unless you online talk about Soungarden all day, it’s doubtful that satanoscillatemymetallicsonatas is used that often.

    Reply
  51. Mukhtar -  August 5, 2010 - 1:36 pm

    Nice work as always.

    Reply
  52. Jeff -  August 5, 2010 - 1:31 pm

    Madam in Eden, I’m Adam.

    Reply
  53. Joe -  August 5, 2010 - 1:24 pm

    Put a crow, a camel, a mini male macaw, or cat up.

    Reply
  54. wade -  August 5, 2010 - 1:22 pm

    sex at noon taxes

    Reply
  55. Bonnie -  August 5, 2010 - 1:01 pm

    straw? no, too stupid a fad: I put soot on warts.

    Reply
  56. Nancy O -  August 5, 2010 - 12:54 pm

    Good, one, Ray!

    We lived near the rather mundane YrekaBakery.

    Reply
  57. MA -  August 5, 2010 - 12:52 pm

    My hometown is Yreka, CA which gives us Yreka Bakery

    Reply
  58. Raymond Kenneth Petry -  August 5, 2010 - 12:28 pm

    1. Do you count, ‘I’, as a palindrome, Or is it like, 1– is not a prime?

    2. You neglected the most recently discovered Palindrome, “refudiate.”

    Ray.

    Reply
  59. Chris -  August 5, 2010 - 11:50 am

    Give a listen to Weird Al Yankovic’s song, “Bob”. It’s a cornucopia of palindromes! :D

    Reply
  60. QT -  August 5, 2010 - 11:33 am

    meetsysteem

    It’s a Dutch word meaning measuring system.

    Reply
  61. QT -  August 5, 2010 - 11:28 am

    Golf? No Sir, prefer prison flog.

    Reply
  62. QT -  August 5, 2010 - 11:27 am

    The following poem reads from the first line to the last as it does from the last to the first. It was written by James A. Lindon and was first published in Dmitri Borgmann’s Beyond Language (1967).

    Doppelgänger

    Entering the lonely house with my wife
    I saw him for the first time
    Peering furtively from behind a bush –
    Blackness that moved,
    A shape amid the shadows,
    A momentary glimpse of gleaming eyes
    Revealed in the ragged moon.
    A closer look (he seemed to turn) might have
    Put him to flight forever –
    I dared not
    (For reasons that I failed to understand),
    Though I knew I should act at once.

    I puzzled over it, hiding alone,
    Watching the woman as she neared the gate.
    He came, and I saw him crouching
    Night after night.
    Night after night
    He came, and I saw him crouching,
    Watching the woman as she neared the gate.

    I puzzled over it, hiding alone –
    Though I knew I should act at once,
    For reasons that I failed to understand
    I dared not
    Put him to flight forever.

    A closer look (he seemed to turn) might have
    Revealed in the ragged moon
    A momentary glimpse of gleaming eyes
    A shape amid the shadows,
    Blackness that moved.

    Peering furtively from behind a bush,
    I saw him, for the first time
    Entering the lonely house with my wife.

    Reply
  63. wacky -  August 5, 2010 - 11:17 am

    My favorites include

    “Deb sat in Nita’s bed.” (The first palindrome I ever came up with although it’s not original)

    “Too hot to hoot!”

    and the title of a children’s book of palindromes called

    “Go hang a salami; I’m a lasagna hog”

    Reply
  64. bob -  August 5, 2010 - 11:15 am

    Norma is as selfless as I am, Ron.

    Reply
  65. Judy -  August 5, 2010 - 11:06 am

    I like:

    Go hang a salami, I’m a lasagna hog.

    Reply
  66. daniel -  August 5, 2010 - 10:54 am

    yeah brit i pointed that out, too.

    “God saw I was a dog” is also not a palindrome.

    and then my comments got deleted.

    Reply
  67. hayleigh -  August 5, 2010 - 10:52 am

    madam i’m adam :L

    but i like “Sir, I demand, I am a maid named Iris” best

    Reply
  68. Nice Guy -  August 5, 2010 - 10:46 am

    I especially like Hannah! Especially if she is a cute asian girl!

    Reply
  69. brit -  August 5, 2010 - 10:45 am

    The first sentence is not a palindrome… it’s missing an ‘a’ going backwards.

    Was it a car or cat I saw?
    BACKWARDS: Was It a cr or a cat I saw?
    There’s not a in between the c and the r going backwards.

    Reply
  70. Jason -  August 5, 2010 - 10:40 am

    rats live on no evil star.

    Reply
  71. daniel -  August 5, 2010 - 10:40 am

    maybe you left the “a” out of the “Was it a car…” and accidentally added it to “God saw…” !

    Reply
  72. daniel -  August 5, 2010 - 10:35 am

    My favorite is “A man, a plan, a canal: Panama.”

    Reply

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