Learn what is an anagram in this clear, brief explanation. Both simple and complex examples of this fun format of word play are included.
The American Heritage dictionary defines an anagram as “A word or phrase formed by reordering the letters of another word or phrase, such as satin to stain.”
The dictionary, to be sure, answers the question, “What is an anagram?” but…Anagrams are way more fun than this! Anagram games and puzzles are a blast.
For example, can you change:
- A seminar into a group of soldiers at sea?
- A senator into an act of betrayal?
Can you think of:
- 4 letters that can spell both a bird and a predatory mammal?
- 5 letters that spell both a quality piece of meat and a boot with a blade?
If you are catching on to the idea of anagrams, you might guess the answers: seminar/marines, senator/treason and fowl/wolf, and steak/skate.
Anagrams can be made from words we use every day. Consider these sets of words: are/ear/era, dare/dear/read, and least/stale/steal/tales.
Sometimes it is possible to form an anagram that is related to the original word or phrase. These are known as cognate or perfect anagrams. Here is a clever example from the Encarta dictionary definition of an anagram: Astronomers is an anagram of no more stars.
The Anagram Dictionary by Michael Curl lists some interesting perfect anagrams which are almost unbelievable:
INCOME TAXES = Exact Monies
ELEVEN PLUS TWO = Twelve plus one
THE MONA LISA = Ah, not a smile?
VICTORIA, ENGLAND’S QUEEN = Governs a nice quiet land
Now that you know what an anagram is, you are ready to dive into the fun world of solving anagrams. There are many anagram sites online, and most newsstand puzzle magazines also contain a good selection of anagram puzzles. Anagram word games range from very simple to extremely difficult. Start out with the easy ones and work your way up. Once you are able to solve –or create–some tricky anagrams, you are sure to amaze your friends and family!