Posted by: Jack Henry | August 16, 2018

Editor’s Corner: Happy Palindrome Week

I may not be the first, but let me be the most enthusiastic in wishing you a happy Palindrome Week! Who doesn’t love a palindrome? Maybe only those who aren’t quite sure what it is. So, for those folks, here’s a definition: a palindrome is “a word, phrase, or sequence that reads the same backward and forward, e.g., madam or nurses run.” This is a very special week because every date is a palindrome.

I just got back from a trip to England, and I am pretty certain Palindrome Week is not being celebrated there (or in most of the world) because they write dates in the day/month/year format, making today 16/8/18. Oh well, we’ll celebrate twice as heartily for them.

So, palindromes can be made up of numbers (like this week’s dates and like my zip code, which is 92129), but we are probably more familiar with palindromes made up of letters. These palindromes can be a single word:

  • kayak
  • noon
  • racecar
  • rotator

Or they can be a few words:

  • my gym
  • taco cat
  • top spot

Or they can be an entire sentence:

  • A Santa lived as a devil at NASA.
  • Eva, can I stab bats in a cave?
  • Mr. Owl ate my metal worm.
  • Was it a car or a cat I saw?
  • Yo, banana boy!

A palindrome can even be made up of a sequence of words instead of letters, as in this example:

  • King, are you glad you are king?

And if you’re interested, I found this history of the palindrome (from Your Dictionary):

The word palindrome is derived from the Greek “palin,” or “back” and “dromos” or "direction." The actual Greek phrase alluded to the backward movement of the crab. Palindromes date back to about 70AD, when they were first found as a graffito buried in ash at Herculaneum.

This first known palindrome was in Latin and read “sator arepo tenet opera rotas” which means either:

The sower Arepo holds the wheels with effort.


The sower Arepo leads with his hand the plough.

Not exactly a grammatically correct sentence, but still pretty fun.

Palindromes were also found in ancient Greek and in ancient Sanskrit, so obviously people have been having quite a lot of fun with these unique words for quite a long time.

I hope all of you enjoy the rest of Palindrome Week.

Donna Bradley Burcher | Senior Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Ext: 765432

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