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Mar 26, 2018
This week’s theme
Words described using their anagrams

This week’s words
listerize
adulatory
babble
metathesis
blate

Joseph Lister
Joseph Lister
Artist unknown
Image: Wellcome Collection

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Would you say a dormitory is a dirty room? Well, we won’t comment on the housekeeping habits of college students, but we’ll note that the word “dormitory” is an anagram of “dirty room”. Both use the same letters in a different order. In the same vein, you could say a “dictionary” is an “indicatory”.

You probably know where this is going. I’m wondering if we can describe other words using exactly the same letters. Well, it’s not possible with all words, but certainly there must be some words like this. Let’s call them synonagrams. Here are some examples:

angered = enraged
brush = shrub

These are everyday words, but this week we’ll pick five uncommon words and, besides giving their regular definitions, also describe or define them using anagrams of them.

What other words can you describe or define with anagrams? Share them below or write to us at words@wordsmith.org.

To get inspiration, visit the Anagram Hall of Fame. To help with anagramming, use the Internet Anagram Server.

listerize

PRONUNCIATION:
(LIS-tuh-ryz)

MEANING:
verb tr.: To make antiseptic.

ANAGRAM:
listerize = sterilize

ETYMOLOGY:
Coined after Joseph Lister (1827-1912) surgeon and a pioneer of antiseptic medicine. Earliest documented use: 1888. Besides this word, some other things named after Joseph Lister are Listerine (originally a surgical antiseptic), the bacterial genus Listeria, and the slime mold genus Listerella.

USAGE:
“[The quarantine authority] has thoroughly listerized a poultry farm suspected of bird flu infection.”
Macao Receives Safety Warrants from Mainland Poultry Exporters; Xinhua News Agency (Woodside, New York); Feb 11, 2004.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Evidence is the only good reason to believe anything. -Richard Dawkins, biologist and author (b. 26 Mar 1941)

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