Popular Palindromes – A Language Exercise

Words or sentences that read the same backwards and forwards have been a popular pastime since ancient times. One of the oldest ones dates back to 79 AD. Given their highly visible occurence across today’s internet, Palindromes don't seem to be fading away. While some are practically usable, others sound more like disconnected statements from another world.

Everything that you ever wanted to know about palindromes


The oldest Palindrome is called the Sator Square and reads:

“Sator Arepo Tenet Opera Rotas”


What makes this Palindrome especially interesting is that the letters of the first word form the first letters of all the words that follow. The words can therefore be written under each other, with the letters aligned, and then read horizontally or vertically, beginning either at the top left or the bottom right.

Other examples of palindromes:

Madam, I’m Adam

Was it Eliot’s toilet I saw?

Was it a car or a cat I saw?

A Santa at Nasa

A nut for a jar of tuna

Some even include consistent spacing:

Rats live on no evil star

Step on no pets

Probably one of the longest palindromes ever is: 

Dennis, Nell, Edna, Leon, Nedra, Anita, Rolf, Nora, Alice, Carol, Leo, Jane, Reed, Dena, Dale, Basil, Rae, Penny, Lana, Dave, Denny, Lena, Ida, Bernadette, Ben, Ray, Lila, Nina, Jo, Ira, Mara, Sara, Mario, Jan, Ina, Lily, Arne, Bette, Dan, Reba, Diane, Lynn, Ed, Eva, Dana, Lynne, Pearl, Isabel, Ada, Ned, Dee, Rena, Joel, Lora, Cecil, Aaron, Flora, Tina, Arden, Noel, and Ellen sinned.

Photos: Shutterstock / Graphic Design: Martina Advaney

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