( Adapted from the article "Anagram a day may keep dementia away by Ratna Raman,The Tribune & other source)
Anagram is an arrangement of letters of a word or phrase in such a way that a new word or phrase is formed.It demonstrates a skill with words and wordplay.
The word "Anagram" consists of two parts , ana and gramma.
Anagram is formed by using exactly the same letters of the original word but with a different arrangement. At the simplest level it is a rearrangement of letters comprising a word. For example, the letters in the word “Astronomer” can be rearranged to form an anagram “Moon starer”. "Dormitory" can also spell "dirty room."
However, an anagram in literature is not a nonsensical arrangement of words. Rather, it aims at parodying, criticizing or praising its subject i.e. the original word. For instance, a most famous anagram for “William Shakespeare” is “I am a weakish speller”.While the rearrangement of words in an anagram can throw up interesting associations, any new arrangement of letters is not required to have the same meaning as the previous combination of letters, as in " Teaser" and "Easter."
Anagrams are very interesting and are sometimes hilarious too.Some hilarious anagram examples are given below:
Mother-in-law = Hitler woman
Debit card = Bad credit
Dormitory = Dirty Room
The earthquakes = The queer shakes
Astronomer = Moon starer
Punishments = Nine Thumps
School master = The classroom
Anagrams have been employed by several writers in titles of their works and in naming their charactergiving them a touch of wit and mystery. Here are some examples given below:
“Hamlet” by William Shakespeare is an anagram of “Amleth”, a Danish prince.
Vladamir Nabakov in his novel “Lolita” presents a character “Vivian Darkbloom” which is an anagram of his name.
J.K. Rowling in her “Harry Potter Series” uses an anagram “I am Lord Voldemort” for her character Tom Marvolo Riddle to reveal the two different identities of the villain.
Anagrams are also used to carry messages and secret codes.More importantly anagrams work as a recreational activity and enhance memory by enabling us with a recall. For example, in case of learning Roman numerals, it is very easy to commit to memory the symbols for the numerals up to 49 by permutation and combination of letters I,V,X used 49 times. Symbols change in case of 50 and 100. In any case, one can learn the anagram 'Lucky cows drink milk' to get the sequence right. The first letter of each word L(50),C(100),D(500) and M(1000) corresponds to the symbols of the Roman numerals in that denomination.
Similarly to commit the arrangement of human teeth in mouth cavity to memory one can learn the sentence 'I C(see) PM'. I stand for incisors, c for ceasors,P for Pre-molars and M for Molars. To remember seven deadly sins namely pride,covetousness,envy,gluttony,sloth,avarice and lust one need to learn a sentence, 'Prince Charles Enters Graciously Smiles And Leaves'.
Anagrams sharpen memory and reflect great wit and humour. They are great memory aids and form part of personal repertoires.The good thing about anagrams is that they are abundant in language. Most words lend themselves to being rearranged as anagrams and provide for endless wordplay. An anagram a day can keep Alzheimer's (dementia) at bay. Some more examples of anagrams are :-