An anagram is a word or phrase formed by rearranging the letters of an existing word, phrase or sentence.
- 1 What is Anagram?
- 2 Types of Anagram
- 3 Examples of Anagram
- 4 Anagram Examples in English
- 5 Anagram Examples in Literature:
- 6 A Midsummer Night’s Dream
What is Anagram?
An anagram is a word or phrase formed by rearranging the letters of an existing word, phrase or sentence. The word comes from the Greek ana gramma, meaning “to write back”.
Anagrams are often used for fun, as puzzles, and to create humor. Many anagrams can be turned into puns by rephrasing the words in the sentence. Some are simply used for amusement purposes only. Anagrams are also used in cryptography, often involving code-breaking.
Types of Anagram
There are two types of anagrams:
Substitution anagrams – these are where one letter is replaced by another (for example ‘cat’ can become ‘cad’).
Transposition anagrams – these are where letters are moved around within a word, for example ‘gripe’ can become ‘peer’.
Examples of Anagram
The examples of anagrams that can be found in the world are many. The word “anagram” itself is an example of a palindrome.
In sports, the names of some teams are palindromes, such as the New York Yankees (NY), Boston Celtics (BOS) and Los Angeles Lakers (LA). A palindrome can also be formed by using the name of a city or town as its own nickname. For instance, Philadelphia’s professional basketball team is known as the 76ers because their arena was originally located on South Broad Street at 46th Street in Philadelphia, PA. A similar example occurred in 1995 when Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians moved to Jacobs Field in downtown Cleveland, Ohio.
Anagram Examples in English
- AAA=Triple A Baseball
- AAA=American Automobile Association
- AAB=American Association of Blood Banks
- ABC=American Broadcasting Company (television network)
- ABC=Australian Broadcasting Corporation (television network)
Anagram examples include:
- “blessed” = “desserts”
- “bookkeeper” = “cookbook freaks”
- “bossy drama queen” = “my boss gave me a raise”
These are some more examples of anagram:
- A man who can predict the future is the most dangerous person in the world.
- You can’t make fat people thin by making laws against obesity.
- Don’t mistake your purpose for God’s purpose.
- The walls have ears but the curtains have eyes.
- The fool and his money are soon parted.
Anagram Examples in Literature:
The Rape Of The Lock” by Alexander Pope
This poem begins with the phrase: “Belinda views her face in mirror.” This phrase can be rearranged to form the word “Bin Dam”, which means dam or barrier in Arabic language.
Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare
In Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio tells Romeo that he will be dead before sunrise, but he does not know about Romeo’s plan to leave for Mantua with his friends Benvolio and Tybalt.
Mercutio says: “Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow.”
Romeo replies: “Aye, till tomorrow morning.” Romeo’s use of an anagram reveals that he knows about Mercutio’s death because he will die at sunrise on their last night together.
Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
In The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Dimmesdale gives Pearl a doll that has her mother Hester’s name on it. He says: “Pearl, my little Pearl! This was thy mother’s own baby-name! We called her Pearl because she was like a beautiful jewel.”
Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
In English, the first known example of an anagram in literature appears in The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400). In that book, Chaucer tells a story about a king who is trying to make sense out of a riddle that he has been given.
The riddle says: “What is it that hath one foot but telleth not on foot? And it hath but two feet and yet telleth not on two feet?” The answer is “Time,” because it has only one foot (“telleth not”) and two feet (“and yet
Duchess of Malfi by John Webster
The Duchess of Malfi (1613) by John Webster is a tragic play that revolves around the death of Duchess of Malfi. Anagram is used in this play as a symbol of misery, sorrow and cruelty. The last lines of the play are: “O misery! Misery! Cruelty! Cruelty!” which shows how many times the word ‘misery’ is repeated in the last lines of this play.
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Hamlet (1600) by William Shakespeare uses anagram as a symbol for love, lust and infatuation. In Act 1 Scene 3, when Hamlet talks about his love for Ophelia, he says: “Do not read so much to my uncle as you may do me.” This shows how much he loves her even if she does not love him back.
Similarly, in Act 2 Scene 2 when Hamlet sees Ophelia talking to her father about her love for Hamlet, he gets jealous and angry and says: “What do you mean by this? speak your mind.” This shows that he wants to know what she means by talking to her father about her feelings for him.
Hamlet’s soliloquy, “To be or not to be,” is an interesting example of an anagram. It can also be interpreted as being about suicide.
“To be or not to be” is an anagram for “I am certain.”
“Doubt that the sun doth move,” is another example of Shakespeare’s use of anagrams in his plays. His use of these devices helped him create a deeper meaning in his writing, which made it more interesting for audiences and readers alike.
Othello by Shakespeare
In Shakespeare’s “Othello” (act 5, scene 2), Iago uses anagrams to convince Othello that Desdemona is unfaithful:
I am not what I am… I must be cruel only to be kind… Othello’s occupation’s gone! — And what’s he then? . . . How poor are they who have not patience! This might be said to Othello by Iago; but it is said by Iago to himself, with a different meaning; for it means that he must employ stratagem in order to accomplish his revenge upon Cassio. He says also (iii.3): “I have given suck, and know How tender ’tis to love the babe that mil
The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
In Charles Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers (1837), Sam Weller refers to an 1834 caricature by George Cruikshank: “He’s got a engraving o’ me at home, as large as life, shaking hands with old Sir Roger de Coverley.” Dickens replied that he had never heard of this picture but would like to see it because “
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
A Midsummer Night’s Dream: “Little Foot, trudge not so fast”, “What hempen home-spuns have we swaggering here?”, “We’ll meet at Thebes in a fortnight”, “You must tell me what you’re and what you are”.