the transposition of the letters of a word or sentence, by which a new word or sentence is formed.

Interesting anagrams should have a relation with the original.

Example: astronomers = moon-starers (from Hoffmann's Puzzles Old and New).
Whole sentences can be anagrammed: "the best things in life are free" = "nail-biting refreshes the feet"

The word comes from greek ana=backwards and gramma=letter, so it was initially a word written backwards (example: doom = mood).

Related to anagrams are palindromes:
these are symetric words or whole sentences which remain unchanged (except for spaces between words) if written backwards.
For example, the first words ever spoken form a palindrome: "Madam, I'm Adam". Of cause, the answer was also a palindrome: "Eve"!
Another famous palindrome is the Panama-plan: A man a plan a canal - Panama!
Finally, the fear of palindromes is called: aibohphobia .

There is a newsgroup devoted to anagrams: alt.anagrams
There is a FAQ about this newsgroup, written by Larry Brash:

Anagrams generated by computer

Here are two popular programs:

ANAGRAM GENIUS ( is a commercial product by William Tunstall-Pedoe;

WORDPLAY ( is a freeware program by Evans A Criswell.

Other programs could be found in the archives of

There are also online anagram generators which can be used from the World-Wide Web:

Anagram programs work with a wordlist. That list can be replaced by another one; I tried french and german wordlists from the internet, but to my disappointment I found out that in these languages, it is much rarer to generate meaningful anagrams (one reason is: in english, most words can be used in many contexts, for example "drink" could be a noun or a verb, and as verb it is almost invariant; whereas in other languages, verbs have many different endings, so a random anagram seldomly gives a grammatically correct sentence).

Anagram quiz

Examples that I generated myself can now be found on several pages, regrouped by subjects:

Anagram fun

Here are other funny examples of anagrams I generated:

Created 1996-12-08, Last updated 2003-03-23
Mail any suggestions to (Patrick Hahn)