• palindrome •
pæ-lin-drom • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: No, it isn't Sarah Palin's home, but one of two other things. 1. A number, word, or phrase with characters in the same order forwards and backwards, as in the case of madam or nurses run. 2. (Biogenetics) A double strand of DNA in which the sequence of nucleotides in one strand is the reverse of that in the other.
Notes: A writer of palindromes is a palindromist, whose writings are palindromic or, if you need an extra syllable, palindromical. The adverb is palindromically. I'm not quite sure what we might do palindromically but, should we ever need to, we have a word for it.
In Play: 'In Play' is the place for palindromes, for palindromes are all play. "Go hang a salami; I'm a lasagna hog!" reads the same from left to right and right to left (ignoring punctuation, of course). "Was it Eliot's toilet I saw?" is another. Hannah from Adaven, Nevada has a palindromic name in a palindromic town. How about that?
Word History: Today's Good Word is a mild makeover of Greek palindromos "running back again, recurring", made up of palin "again, backwards" + dromos "running, race, course". We find the root of palin in words referring to things ancient, such as paleontology and paleology "study of antiquities". Dromos comes from a root word that survived in Serbian and Romanian as drum "road". It is found in several other English words borrowed from Greek, including hippodrome, originally a stadium where horses (Greek hippos) run, aerodrome, a synonym of "airport", where airplane runways are found, and syndrome, from syn "(together) with" + dromos, a set of symptoms that run together. (Aha! It would be live evil not to thank William Hupy for suggesting today's unreversible Good Word.)
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