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Anagrams in Literature, Movies, and Beyond

Here are some instances where authors and other creators consciously used anagrams in their works, as titles, as names of their characters, and so on.

Hover mouse pointer over anagrams (or tap) to animate them.

Literature | Movies | Magazines | Television | Music | Art

Literature

Vladimir Nabokov = Vivian Darkbloom
Vivian Darkbloom is a character in Nabokov's novel Lolita.

Tom Marvolo Riddle = I am Lord Voldemort
The author JK Rowling used an anagram to name the two identities of her villain in her Harry Potter series.

Tom Elvis Jedusor = Je suis Voldemort
To make sure his name remains an anagram, Tom Riddle has been renamed in Harry Potter translations. For example, the above is his name in the French edition.

Erewhon = Nowhere
The author Samuel Butler titled his satirical novel as an angram; incidentally, the word "nowhere" is a literal translation of the Greek utopia.

Roast Mules = Somersault
In his novel Son of Rosemary, the author Ira Levin includes the term ROAST MULES whose anagrams must be found out.

O, Draconian devil! = Leonardo da Vinci
Oh, lame saint! = The Mona Lisa
So dark the con of Man = Madonna of the Rocks
In the novel The Da Vinci Code, the museum curator Jacques Saunière is murdered. He writes a series of clues in blood before dying. These clues were anagrams related to da Vinci.

Leigh Teabing = Baigent Leigh
Leigh Teabing is the name of the Holy Grail expert in Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code. He coined this name by anagramming the last names of Richard Leigh and Michael Baigent, authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail, from which he took inspiration.

Claire McCleethy = They call me Circe
Hester Asa Moore = Sarah Rees-Toome
Claire and Sarah are protagonist and antagonist in the book Rebel Angels and use anagrams to rename themselves.

Dave Barry = Ray Adverb
Ray Adverb is a character in a book by Dave Barry, titled "Dave Barry In Cyberspace".

Imagine the theater as real = I hate thee, sterile anagram
In Christopher Hampton's play 'The Philanthropist', Philip, a professor of philology, loves to make anagrams. His final anagram is above. See NYT reviews here and here.

Movies

October Sky = Rocket Boys
October Sky is a movie based on Homer Hickam's book Rocket Boys.

Miss Hester Mofet = Miss the rest of me
Louis Friend = Iron Sulfide
In the 1991 movie, The Silence Of The Lambs, the villain, Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), was fond of anagrams. He hid a murder victim's severed head in a rented storage garage under the name "Miss Hester Mofet" which FBI Agent Starling (Jodi Foster) figured out was an anagram.
Later when officials demand he give up the name of a serial killer, he lies and tells them it's "Louis Friend". Once again Agent Starling concludes that it's an anagram for "Iron Sulfide" (fool's gold).

Redrum = Murder
In "The Shining", a horror movie based on Stephen King's novel of the same name. Danny, holding a knife, shouts REDRUM and writes it with a lipstick on a bathroom mirror. His mother sees in the reflection that it's MURDER spelled backwards.

Setec Astronomy = Too Many Secrets
In the movie "Sneakers", the protagonist finds the above anagram.

A Turnip Cures Elvis = Universal Pictures
Blond Rhino Spaniel = Phil Alden Robinson
Fort Red Border = Robert Redford
The opening credits of the above movie show these anagrams.

Mobil = Limbo
Switch or Break Show [a song] = Wachowski brothers [director duo: Larry and Andy Wachowsk]
In the movie "The Matrix" the station between real world and matrix is called Mobil, similar to limbo, a region on the border of hell or heaven.

Edward Daniels = Andrew Laeddis
Rachel Solando = Dolores Chanal
From the movie Shutter Island (2010)

Magazines

Metamagical Themas = Mathematical Games
Metamagical Themas was the title of a column Martin Gardner started in the Scientific American magazine. The column was inherited by Douglas Hofstadter who later published a collection of his columns under the same title.

Television

Bart = Brat
Matt Groening claims that he named Bart in his animated cartoon show by anagramming the word brat.

Torchwood = Doctor Who
BBC science fiction series Torchwood is a spinoff of Doctor Who.

Gregory House = Huge ego, sorry
In the television series House, in the episode titled "Housetraining", the character Dr. House says his name, Gregory House, is an anagram for "Huge ego, sorry."

Music

Jim Morrison = Mr. Mojo Risin'
Mr. Mojo Risin' appears in the song L.A. Woman in the band The Doors. Jim Morrison was the lead singer and lyricist of band.

Memory Almost Full = For my soulmate LLM
Paul McCartney's 2007 album is titled Memory Almost Full. LLM are the initials of Linda Louise McCartney, his wife who died of breast cancer in 1998.

Lyrics and poems that makes use of anagrams:
doG (When a Child Says a Prayer), a song by Bill Pere

I, Megaphone = Imogen Heap
The album title "I, Megaphone" is an anagram for the artist's name Imogen Heap.

Will.i.am = William
Musician William Adams is known by his stage name will.i.am.

Art

Salvador Dali = Avida Dollars
Andre Breton, the founder of surrealism, came up with this anagram to refer to Dali. Avida Dollars means, roughly, 'eager for dollars' in Spanish.

Do you know an anagram that belongs on this page? Write to us at (words at wordsmith.org).



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