Definition of an anagram
An anagram is the rearrangement of the letters of a word,
name, phrase, sentence, title, or the like into another word
ALL the letters of the name or phrase must be used ONCE
and only ONCE. This is the basic rule of anagramming.
The best anagrams are meaningful and relate in some way to
the original subject. They can be apposite, funny, rude, satirical
What is not an anagram?
People sometimes confuse palindromes, acronyms
and acrostics with anagrams.
Palindromes are words or phrases that are spelt the
same forwards and backwards, such as "A man, a plan, a canal,
Panama!" The Fun-with-words
website has a useful section on palindromes.
Strictly speaking, acronyms are actual words that are
formed by the initials of a place, organisation or the like,
e.g. MASH (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital). However, the meaning
of the word "acronym" has undergone some change with
the advent of the Internet and the use of TLA (Three Letter Acronyms),
such as BTW (by the way). These are really abbreviations rather
than true acronyms.
Poems in which the first letters of each line spell out a
word or name are sometimes erroneously called anagram poems,
but are more properly referred to as acrostics. For some
true anagram poems (a few of which are also acrostics) see our