Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Anagram Fun

An anagram is a word or phrase that's formed by rearranging the letters of another word or phrase. For example, the letters that make up "A decimal point" can be turned into the anagram "I’m a dot in place."
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(Compare with Which one has lots of ads? Which one is easier to read?)

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People mainly make anagrams just for fun, but sometimes they’re used as pseudonyms or codes. For example, the French writer Francois Rabelais published his controversial first book under Alcofribas Nasier, an anagram of his name. The most entertaining anagrams are the ones where the rearranged letters make some sort of comment on the original. "Dormitory" turns into the anagram "dirty room," and "snooze alarms" can be rearranged into "Alas! No more Zs."
People who are good at seeing anagrams are often terrific Scrabble players, because they can look at a tray of seven letters and see new words that those letters can make.

I just came across a site where a programmer made a mock instant messaging app. You exchange comments with Sternest Meanings, who turns everything you say into an anagram.

Here's an example:

sternest: Ahoy mate!
webuser: Hi there, Sternest Meaning!
sternest: I'm the sneering threatens.
webuser: Hey, I'm going to the tutoring center tonight.
sternest: Unremote eighty-eight contorting. To thing.
webuser: Are you coming?
sternest: Gooey cranium.
webuser: What are you reading?
sternest: Graduate on haywire.
webuser: See ya later!
sternest: Steely area.

Give it a try. Can you see how the program makes new words from the ones you wrote?

By the way, "Sternest Meaning" is an anagram of a two-word phrase. Can you figure it out?

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