palindrome

noun

pal·​in·​drome ˈpa-lən-ˌdrōm How to pronounce palindrome (audio)
: a word, verse, or sentence (such as "Able was I ere I saw Elba") or a number (such as 1881) that reads the same backward or forward
palindromic adjective
palindromist noun

Did you know?

Palindrome comes from Greek palindromos, meaning "running back again," which itself is from palin ("back," "again") and dramein ("to run"). Nowadays, we appreciate a clever palindrome—such as "Drab as a fool, aloof as a bard" or "A man, a plan, a canal: Panama"—or even a simple one like "race car," but in the past palindromes were more than just smart wordplay. Some folks thought they were magical, and they carved them on walls or amulets for protection.

Examples of palindrome in a Sentence

The word “dad” and the number “1881” are palindromes.
Recent Examples on the Web This is a palindrome — a sentence that reads the same forward and backward. Richard Lederer, San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 July 2023 The most significant palindrome date will be the one from Inauguration day, which also marks the start of 10 consecutive days of palindromes. Sonia Ramirez, Chron, 21 Jan. 2021 That’s where the puzzle element could come in: Some categories might be defined by their use of wordplay — palindromes, homophones, adding or dropping letters and words — rather than the literal meanings of the words on the cards. Wyna Liu, New York Times, 26 June 2023 Twosday is a global celebration, a set-in-stone palindrome no matter the date format. Zachary Smith, cleveland, 21 Feb. 2022 Manufactured by Honda, the Civic automobile is a palindrome composed entirely of Roman numerals. Richard Lederer, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 June 2023 The Clue: This word is a palindrome. Erik Kain, Forbes, 20 Apr. 2023 Interview with, and essay by, palindrome king Barry Duncan. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 29 Oct. 2011 Thursday marks an eight-digit palindrome, which occurs only 12 times this century. Jay Cannon, USA TODAY, 2 Dec. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'palindrome.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Greek palindromos running back again, from palin back, again + dramein to run; akin to Greek polos axis, pole — more at pole, dromedary

First Known Use

circa 1637, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of palindrome was circa 1637

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Dictionary Entries Near palindrome

Cite this Entry

“Palindrome.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/palindrome. Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

palindrome

noun
pal·​in·​drome ˈpal-ən-ˌdrōm How to pronounce palindrome (audio)
: a word, phrase, or sentence (as "Step on no pets") or a number (as 1881) that reads the same backward or forward

Medical Definition

palindrome

noun
pal·​in·​drome ˈpal-ən-ˌdrōm How to pronounce palindrome (audio)
: a palindromic sequence of DNA

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