A ‘palindrome’ is a word, number, phrase or other sequence of characters which reads the same backward as forward, such as madam, eye, kayak, refer, civic, level or Hannah. The word was apparently coined in 1638 by Henry Peacham using the Greek roots ‘palin’ (meaning again, back) and ‘dromos’ (meaning running). So literally ‘palindrome’ means running back again. However, there is evidence of the use of palindromes dating back to 70CE. Today, there are even palindrome competitions.
Sentences can also be palindromes but you usually need to ignore capitalisation, punctuation and word boundaries for them to make sense!
- Create palindrome artwork (see image above).
- Provide a definition and have students find or match it to the correct palindrome.
A type of canoe – kayak
Used on a baby to keep them clean – bib
Middle of the day – noon
Your mother’s mother -nan
Burst – pop
Look quickly – peep
- Give students a list of places which are palindromes and ask them to find the country in which each place is located (see list at the bottom).
- Although not exactly a palindrome, have students write a story which although the sentences are always read forward, the story itself can be read forward or backwards. See Turn it Around (scroll down to listen to video story).
List of Palindromes and Palindrome Phrases
- bird rib
- taco cat
- Borrow or rob?
- Never odd or even.
- We panic in a pew.
- Won’t lovers revolt now?
- Ma is a nun, as I am.
- Don’t nod.
- Sir, I demand, I am a maid named Iris.
- Was it a car or a cat I saw?
- Yo, Banana Boy!
- Eva, can I see bees in a cave?
- Madam, in Eden, I’m Adam.
- A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!
- Never a foot too far, even.
- Red roses run no risk, sir, on Nurse’s order.
- He lived as a devil, eh?
- Ned, I am a maiden.
- Now, sir, a war is won!
- Evade me, Dave!
- Dennis and Edna sinned.
- Step on no pets!
- No lemon, no melon
- Top spot
- Abiriba, Nigeria
- Acaiaca, Brazil
- Aka Aka, New Zealand
- Akasaka, Japan (Tokyo)
- Alavala, Andhra Pradesh, India
- Aramara, Australia
- Ateleta, Italy (L’Aquila)
- Aworowa, Ghana
- Burggrub, Germany
- Callac, Brittany, France
- Ebenebe, Anambra, Nigeria
- Eleele, Hawaii, United States
- Etsaste, Estonia
- Glenelg, Highland, Scotland
- Haddah, Yemen
- Hallah, Yemen
- Hammah, Lower Saxony, Germany
- Heddeh, Khuzestan, Iran
- Idappadi, Tamil Nadu, India
- Ikazaki, Ehime, Japan
- Itamati, Odisha, India
- Kanakanak, Alaska, United States
- Killik, Antalya, Turkey
- Kinikinik, Alberta, Canada
- Kinikinik, Colorado, United States
- Lal Lal, Victoria, Australia
- Margram, West Bengal, India
- Mussum, Bocholt, Germany
- Neuquén, Argentina
- Noagaon, Bangladesh
- Notton, West Yorkshire, England
- Okonoko, West Virginia, United States
- Oktahatko, Florida, United States
- Paraparap, Victoria, Australia
- Planalp, Switzerland
- Qaanaaq, Greenland
- Renner, South Dakota, United States
- Sarras, Ardèche, France
- Selles, Eure, France
- Semmes, Alabama, United States
- Sennes, South Tyrol, Italy
- Senones, Vosges, France
- Serres, Macedonia, Greece
- Staats, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany
- Tabbat, Urmia, West Azerbaijan, Iran
- Tommot, Sakha Republic, Russia
- Ubulubu, Delta State, Nigeria
- Wassamassaw, South Carolina, United States
- Woddow, Germany
- Yessey, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia