an·​a·​gram | \ ˈa-nə-ˌgram How to pronounce anagram (audio) \

Definition of anagram

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a word or phrase made by transposing the letters of another word or phrase The word "secure" is an anagram of "rescue."
2 anagrams plural in form but singular in construction : a game in which words are formed by rearranging the letters of other words or by arranging letters taken (as from a stock of cards or blocks) at random


anagrammed; anagramming

Definition of anagram (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : anagrammatize anagrammed the letters of "battle" to form "tablet"
2 : to rearrange (the letters of a text) in order to discover a hidden message

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Other Words from anagram


anagrammatic \ ˌa-​nə-​grə-​ˈma-​tik How to pronounce anagrammatic (audio) \ or less commonly anagrammatical \ ˌa-​nə-​grə-​ˈma-​ti-​kəl How to pronounce anagrammatical (audio) \ adjective
anagrammatically \ ˌa-​nə-​grə-​ˈma-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce anagrammatically (audio) \ adverb

Examples of anagram in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The 50,000 people of Greenland vs. charred mollusk on a stick: The former could be called Denmark’s Ultra-cool Hicks; the latter is an anagram of that. Washington Post, "Style Invitational Week 1352: Hee-rotica," 3 Oct. 2019 Part of the tip-off was the fictitious person’s name: Ron Vara, which is an anagram of Navarro. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Peter Navarro and his imaginary friend become a thing," 20 Oct. 2019 Another player might then shout out the anagram RATS. The Reader's Catalog, "Anagram Game," 17 June 2019 Finally, Kondrak and Hauer assumed the manuscript was an anagram, meaning the letters in each word have been scrambled. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "The Truly Baffling Case of the Ancient Voynich Manuscript," 12 Sep. 2019 Players compete to collect as many words as possible, either by using new letters as they are revealed or by spotting anagrams and poaching their opponents’ words. The Reader's Catalog, "Anagram Game," 17 June 2019 He was known for his speedy solutions in games of anagrams that flew around the room in the interest of wasting time. Quanta Magazine, "A Life in Games," 28 Aug. 2015 His poems have been influenced by riddles, anagrams and Japanese slide shows called pechakucha. New York Times, "Sonnets That Reckon With Donald Trump’s America," 19 June 2018 With that crew around, however, and L.B. driving the entertainments, the long evenings could become barbed—anagrams and other word games were played as life-and-death matters, and more than one participant, Jamie says, left the room in tears. David Denby, The New Yorker, "Leonard Bernstein Through His Daughter’s Eyes," 16 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'anagram.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of anagram


1589, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1630, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for anagram

Noun and Verb

probably from Middle French anagramme, from New Latin anagrammat-, anagramma, modification of Greek anagrammatismos, from anagrammatizein to transpose letters, from ana- + grammat-, gramma letter — more at gram

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Learn More about anagram

Time Traveler for anagram

Time Traveler

The first known use of anagram was in 1589

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Statistics for anagram

Last Updated

6 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Anagram.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 18 January 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on anagram

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with anagram

Spanish Central: Translation of anagram

Nglish: Translation of anagram for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of anagram for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about anagram

Comments on anagram

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