Created | Updated Jan 28, 2002
A palindrome is a nifty little word or sentence which can be read the same way both forwards and backwards. The following is a classic example of a palindrome concerning Theodore Roosevelt referring to how the United States borrowed a strategic piece of Central America for nearly a century:
A man, a plan, a canal, Panama
Another classic palindrome is credited to Napoleon Bonaparte upon his first sighting of the island that was to be his home in exile:
Able was I ere I saw Elba
Yet another classic example may have been the first words man ever spoke. When Eve was first introduced to Adam he is alleged to have greeted her with the following:
Madam I'm Adam
This, of course, assumes that these prototype humans spoke English. But equally, they could perhaps have spoken, say, Norwegian:
Agnes i senga1
Palindromes are a rare breed; so when you find a particularly clever one, hang on to it. They are useful for wowing friends or annoying neighbours.
At all costs, avoid trying to invent a palindrome; just let it happen. Half-baked attempts at creating palindromes usually result in a bloody mess emy dool ban it lusery llausus emord nilap gnita erct ast pmetta dessa flah.