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Aug 26, 2019
This week’s theme
Palindromes

This week’s words
ere
ecce
minim
tirrit
murdrum

palindrome cartoon
Cartoon: Dan Piraro

Previous week’s theme
People who became verbs
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

A recent archaeological expedition in the Garden of Eden has unearthed some badly deteriorating VHS tapes. Careful salvaging of this grainy, B&W footage* shows the very first sentence spoken by Adam when he introduced himself to Eve, and her reply:

“Madam, I’m Adam.”
“Eve.”

Not many people know, but Adam and Eve were quite fond of palindromes. A palindrome is a text that reads the same forward and backward, such as: “A man, a plan, a canal: Panama!” The word palindrome is from Greek palin (again) + dromos (running).

Seriously though, Adam and Eve may or may not have been fond of palindromes (and may not even have existed), but I do exist and I’m quite fond of them. I was curious as to what palindromes occur naturally in various works of literature. So I developed the MPM (Massive Palindrome Miner), the latest of our offerings from Wordsmith.org.

Feed the MPM your grocery lists, love letters, office memos, or even the whole of War and Peace and it’ll mine palindromes you didn’t even know existed.

Sep 1 is the first palindromic date (9-1-19 or 19-9-1) to occur this year (if you follow the day/month/year format, well, you missed 9 Jan: 9-1-19). So this is an auspicious time to launch the MPM. To celebrate the launch, this week we’ll feature five words from the English language that are palindromes.

Some of our readers have names that are palindromes. I’m looking at you, Hannah, Otto, and Bob, but do you have a family where all children are palindromic? Do you have a full name that’s a palindrome? Share palindromes from your life below or email us at words@wordsmith.org.

Also, share what palindromes you have come up with. What palindromes can you make using any of the words this week? A popular palindrome, the one that Napoleon supposedly said when exiled to the island of Elba, “Able was I ere I saw Elba”, uses today’s word. Note that we are interested in palindromes you yourself have come up with -- not ones you read somewhere.

*We’re not linking to this footage here because it contains nudity.

ere

PRONUNCIATION:
(air)

MEANING:
conjunction, preposition: Before (earlier in time).

ETYMOLOGY:
From Old English aer (earlier). Ultimately from the Indo-European root ayer- (day, morning), which is also the source of early and erst (as in erstwhile). Earliest documented use: 822.

USAGE:
“Starting around 2013, the cockatiel haircuts and mini-hawks were increasingly balanced out with shadowy facial hair. Ere long, full beards arrived.”
Simon Doonan; Style Tribes of Football; Financial Times (London, UK); Jun 9, 2018.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots. -Barbara Ehrenreich, journalist and author (b. 26 Aug 1941)

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