Fascinating Facts About Anagrams You Need to Know

Anagrams are really interesting and a lot of people really enjoy the challenge of creating and unlocking anagrams. An anagram is where all of the letters in a word or phrase are rearranged in order to make a new word or phrase. Whilst this new rearrangement of letters can be a completely random word or phrase, the most interesting anagrams are those where the new rearrangement has a meaning which is related to the original (one anagram of the word “conversation” is “voices rant on”. There are many advantages to solving anagrams regularly as they can help your mind to stay sharp and will enable you to practice your vocabulary. 

For all the lovers of everything linguistic, here are some fascinating facts about anagrams you need to know.

1. Some Famous Characters’ Names are Anagrams

Anagrams are a device used in many books and movies and there are countless examples of places, characters and other things which are subtle anagrams in all of our favorite stories. Vladimir Nabokov, the author of the controversial novel Lolita, named one of his characters ‘Vivian Darkbloom’ which is an anagram of his own name. This has been done by many authors, but even more common in novels, are anagrams for characters or themes. In Harry Potter, for example, the real name of Lord Voldermort, the novel’s main antagonist, is Tom Marvolo Riddle. When the letters of ‘Tom Marvolo Riddle’ are rearranged, they spell out the phrase ‘I am Lord Voldemort’. This was a huge twist for readers and gave an immediate insight into the backstory of the series’ main villain. 

2. Anagrams Come With Royal Approval

Anagrams became very popular during medieval times, but they got a particular boost in popularity later on in the early seventeenth century thanks to the King of France, Louis XIII. King Louis loved anagrams so much that he actually appointed a full time Royal anagrammatist on a very lucrative salary. The job of Louis’ anagrammist was to come up with difficult anagrams in French, English, Spanish, Italian and Latin which the king would then attempt to solve. Fortunately Louis seems to have approached the challenge in good spirits as his annagramist never lost his head over a particularly difficult puzzle.

3. Anagrams are a Central Feature in Many Word Games

There are various forms of anagrams but the most simple are just a reordering of the letters in a particular word or phrase. In games such as Scrabble and Boggle, these random jumbles are used by players to make new words in order to win the game. The experts from explain that using online anagram solvers can help Scrabble players to really hone their skills and score much higher during gameplay. Solving anagrams is all about recognising patterns of letters and knowing how to rearrange them and this is exactly how the best Scrabble players think.

4. There is no Single Word Anagram of the Word Anagram

It’s true! There is no other word which can be made by rearranging the seven letters in the word “anagram”. There are a few phrasal anagrams which can be made, the most interesting being “a ragman”, but there is no other single word in the English language which uses those seven letters. The word comes from the Greek “anagrammatizein”, and it is probably safe to assume that there is no single word anagram of the Greek word either.

5. Anagrams with the Same Meaning are Called Synanagrams

Some of the most interesting anagrams are those in which the new arrangement of letters has the same or a similar meaning to the original word. For example, a synanagram of the word ‘angered’ is the word ‘enraged’. Many people who enjoy making anagram puzzles aim for clever synanagrams to give a hint to the solver about the word they are looking for.

Fascinating Facts About Anagrams You Need to Know

6. Antigrams are Anagrams with the Opposite Meaning

The opposite of a synanagram is an antigram in which the new arrangement of letters has the opposite or contrasting meaning to the original word. Antigrams are particularly playful and are perhaps the most difficult anagrams to devise. There are various wonderful examples of antigrams, but one of the most well known is the antigram of ‘Santa’ which is ‘Satan’. 

Anagrams are fascinating and pop up in the most unexpected places. Japan’s modern capital city Tokyo is an anagram of its ancient capital city Kyoto. For all the math lovers out there, an anagram of the phrase “eleven plus two” is “twelve plus one”. Whether you enjoy solving anagram puzzles, playing Scrabble or trying to make accurate anagrams using the names of your friends and family members, there is so much fun to be had with anagrams.

Written by George K.

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