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"Madam, I'm Adam - Too hot to hoot

No lemons, no melon - Too bad I hid a boot

Lisa Bonet ate no basil - Warsaw was raw

Was it a car or a cat I saw?"

Just as writers like to play with anagrams, acronyms and initialisms, so indeed do they seize opportunities to use palindromes. However, since it's hard to come up with a palindrome - let alone a meaningful one - it's unlikely to be a plot point, and is usually a result of the Rule of Fun.

Palindrome is a word sequence that can be read backwards but remains the same.

Not to be confused with Sdrawkcab Name.

Examples of Fun with Palindromes include:


Comic Books

  • A 2011 issue of the comic book Zatanna had the sorceress (who pronounces the words in her spells backwards) going up against a villain with time-reversal powers, that allowed him to negate her spells by having them sound like normal words. She got around his powers by casting spells in palindromes (such as "Nurses Run" causing him to be stampeded by an army of running nurses).
  • In one Batman comic book, the Joker proposed killing everyone in Gotham City whose name was a palindrome, while flipping through a phone book.
    • If it sounds impossible you you that he would actually find anyone fitting that parameter within Gotham City, he then immediately finds Nora Baron...
  • In Bamse, Lille Skutt's wife is called "Nina Kanin" (meaning "Nina Rabbit").

Literature

  • Angels and Demons contains a variant in the form of ambigrams, which read the same when turned upside down.
  • In Callahan's Legacy by Spider Robinson, every chapter title is a palindrome. Notably, the chapter in which Nikola Tesla visits the bar glories in the title, "I, Madam, I Made Radio. So I Dared. Am I Mad? Am I?"
    • And the subversion in the chapter named "Rettebs, I Flahd Noces, Eh? Tu, But the Second Half is Better..."
  • Otto Tibbit (and his sister Hannah) in Nursery Crime.
  • The Stormlight Archive uses palindromes and near-palindromes as a Theme Naming scheme, this is justified in-universe because the world's major religion considers symmetry to be holy. Notably all the historical names of the various countries are palindromes, although by modern times they've drifted. Also, the hardback edition of the first book has 1001 pages (not counting the extras at the back).
  • Two books are collections of palindromes:
    • Go Hang a Salami, I'm a Lasagna Hog: is a collection of cartoons based on palindromes
    • Lid Off a Daffodil: is a collection of palindromes.
  • In Holes, the main character, Stanley Yelnats IV, is so named because his great-great-grandfather noticed that Yelnats was Stanley spelled backwards, and so decided to name his boy Stanley. Needless to say, it stuck.

Live Action TV

  • On Monk, after Monk's psychiatrist passes away, he has difficulty finding a new one. Then comes Dr. Neven Bell. His first name is the same forwards as it is backwards, thus, Monk approves.
  • "Able was I, ere I saw Elba" was the palindrome that appeared in I Dream of Jeannie.

Music

 "Egad, a base tone denotes a bad age"

    • Word palindromes

 "'Son, I am able,' she said, 'though you scare me.' 'Watch,' said I. 'Beloved,' I said, 'watch me scare you, though.' Said she: 'Able am I, son."

    • "Conceptual" palindromes: references to springs and ouroboros/amphisbaena.
    • Musical palindromes: The bridge of the song is a crab canon.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Bob", a homage to Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues", is written entirely in palindromes.
  • The title of Nada Surf's Cover Album, If I Had A Hi-Fi (by coincidence the same palindrome appears in the above Weird Al song)

Radio

  • Finnish humoristic radio series Alivaltiosihteeri always includes the weekly palindrome. Given that Finnish is crazy adaptable to such, the palindromes tend to be 5 words minimum, and can be outrageously long. For example...
    • Emme loassa jorise, sir. Ojassa olemme. (28.2.2001) ("Not in muck we blather, sir. In a ditch we are.")
    • Allia vaanii visio: jano-juomisia kai Simo ujona joisi, viinaa vailla. (2.12.98) ("Alli is haunted by a vision: drinks for thirst would Simo shyly drink, lacking vodka.")
    • Alli O., nai, pitsa laadi! Anna, Assi, nuoret! Naisia tässä iässä taisi Antero unissaan naida alasti pianolla. (13.9.95) ("Alli O, marry, make a pizza! Anna, Assi, youth! Women at this age did Antero perhaps in his sleep lay, naked on top of a piano.")

Stand-Up Comedy

Video Games

  • The third case of Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations has Blue Screens Inc., a computer firm where all of the employees have palindromes for names.
  • The Legend of Zelda Oracle of Ages features Symmetry City, whose survival depends on the total equality between the two sides.The name of the artifact that mantains the balance? Tuni nut!
  • Girafarig, and Alomomola from Pokémon; Girafarig is a palindrome in the original Japanese too (Kirinriki)).
  • Kingdom of Loathing features an area called the Palindome, in which each adventure revolves around palindromes in some way. You encounter a Taco Cat, the brothers Bob Racecar and Racecar Bob, and get involved in fruit-based combat ("No, sir, away! A papaya war is on!").

Web Comics

  • The webcomic Palindramas probably has more examples than every other work put together.

Western Animation

  • In The Simpsons, the members of Mensa have new palindrome discoveries on their meeting agenda. Comic Book Guy's mention of "Rise to vote, sir" is misinterpreted as an actual request for a democratic procedure until Lisa, who understood, pointed it out.
  • The Phineas and Ferb episode "My Fair Goalie" featured a character called Professor Ross Eforp. Unfortunately, "anti-palindrome" hysteria forces him to spend his life in hiding.

Other

  • On This Very Wiki: Trope Report.
  • A 1934 New York Sun review of a Max Reger string quartet: "Reger might be epitomized as a composer whose name is the same either forward or backward, and whose music, curiously, often displays the same characteristic."
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