Dear Straight Dope:
If a palindrome is an anagram that spells the same forward and backwards, what is an anagram called that spells different words forward and backward, ie. evil — live, star — rats??
SDStaff Songbird replies:
A palindrome is NOT an anagram.
An anagram is a word or phrase made from another word or phrase (in other words, it does NOT include the original word or phrase) by rearranging its letters. In the example of made — dame, the anagram is DAME.
A palindrome is a word, verse or sentence that is the same when read backward or forward (e.g. madam, I’m Adam ).
That settled, we are still left with your question (stated a bit differently because of your example): What do you call an anagram that simply reverses the spelling of the original word to create another word?
Call it a type of anagram, because that’s what it is (as evidenced by Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary (second edition) which gives this second example of an anagram: now -> won).
Send questions to Cecil via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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