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ananym

Printable Version Pronunciation: æ-nê-nim Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A word spelled backwards, as Oprah is the ananym of Harpo (and vice versa).

Notes: Ananym is a peculiar word; its pronunciation is identical to that of anonym "an anonymous person". Perhaps this is why many dictionaries do not recognize it. No adjective has been proposed, either. Following the examples of other 'nyms, the adjective should be ananymous, though it sounds a bit odd. Apparently, no one has been brave enough to commit themselves to an adjectival form in print.

In Play: Before Theodore Geisel became Doctor Seuss, he published several children's books under the name Theo LeSieg, an ananym of Geisel. Back in the 50s a very popular tonic was Serutan, which was touted in its commercials as Nature's spelled backwards. Intentional or not, the popular French bottled water, Evian, is naive spelled backwards. The best, however, is the name of the Welsh town where the action of Dylan Thomas's famous radio play, "Under Milkwood", takes place. Llareggub looks very Welsh with its initial double L but it is, fact, "bugger all" reversed.

Word History: Today's Good Word comprises Greek ana "up, throughout, back(ward)" + onyma "name". Greek onyma, of course, comes from the PIE root nomen "name". This same root went on to become German Name, English name, Latin nomen, Russian imya, imeni, and Old Irish ainm "name", which may be the source of English moniker. (God must love dogs a lot since their name is an ananym of His, a thought suggested by the Old Stargeezer of the Alpha Agora. Thanks, Larry.)

Dr. Goodword, alphaDictionary.com

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