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Kategorien/Categories:    ›Sprachkultur/Language culture‹  ›EN‹   –  18.03.2012

What’s in a name?

For some, forming anagrams is a passionate sport and they’ve reached masterful levels of mixing up letters. For those who aren’t quite as nimble as the average puzzle maniac, there’s the internet.

anagram word with fancy lettering

An anagram is a word or phrase made by transposing the letters of another word or phrase. Avid puzzlers can do this with amazing speed: they simply look at a word and instantly rearrange the letters to form a new one. Perhaps not quite as impressive, but just as fun, is using an online anagram generator to shake up your letters. You can even specify how many new words you might want to form. The more the merrier, seems to be the case here – even if a lot of the possible word combinations don’t make much sense.

It also helps to add a little extra word. When I tried just “anagram” nothing really interesting happened. But then I typed in “anagram this” and out came a list a mile long. Among the more printable possibilities were: "against harm", "Martian shag", and – my favorite – "Sangria math". I can imagine that this could actually be a helpful tool when brainstorming a new name for, say, a business, a website or even a character in a novel. Pop music lyrics supposedly are full of anagrammed names, too.

Sometimes it’s actually pretty surprising what other words are embedded, or shall we say hidden, within a word or phrase. Secure is an anagram of rescue, for example. That figures. Another good one: Clint Eastwood – Old West Action. George W. Bush transforms into “bogus grew he”, but also “he bugs Gore”. William Shakespeare turns into “I'll make a wise phrase” (or, alternatively: “I’m a weakish speller”) and Jay Leno, as we all know, is synonymous with “Enjoy L.A”.

Try your own name some time…you might be surprised what’s really in you!

Here a few online anagram generators:

Martin’s Java Applet Anagram Generator

Anagram Genius

Anagram Site