5 Backward Ways to Use Words
(Last Updated On: January 21, 2022)


Language seems backward sometimes, doesn’t it? But, when it comes to backward language, you might be surprised by how many ways we can play with words and phrases. Take these 5 Backward Ways to Use Words, for instance.

1. Palindromes

Palindromes are words spelled the same forward and backward. These reversible words may be unique, but they also appear in numbers, too!

  • kayak
  • racecar
  • dewed
  • madam
  • Bob
  • mom
  • dad
2. Palindromes Sentences

Palindromes can also be sentences. They are a little more challenging to create than a one-word palindrome, but they’re fun to try and make. Try these on for size:

  • Oozy rat in a sanitary zoo.
  • West won, stressed. Did desserts now stew.
  • No mists or frost, Simon.
  • He a fool, but a tub loofa, eh?
  • Was it a car or a cat I saw?
  • Racecar was fast. Saw racecar.
3. Contranyms

Contranyms are words with multiple meanings that mean the opposite of each other. (Now, that’s kind of backward.)

  • Custom – common practice or tailor-made
  • Dust – to clean or to sprinkle lightly with fine particles
  • Garnish – a food decoration or take away, withhold

How many can you think of?

Mirror image Celebrate Every Day4. Mirror Writing

Mirror writing is the process of writing letters or entire sentences backward. Then, when you hold the writing up to a mirror, you can easily read the word or sentence.

Mirror writing can be intentional or unintentional. Children often reverse letters when they’re learning to write. For example, the letters b and d are mirrors of themselves are often confused by those learning to write English.

Mirror writing can also be used intentionally to disguise a message, like the one to the left. But we’re not sure why you would want to conceal that message!

Leonardo Di Vinci used mirror writing in his art and work. Stephen King used mirror writing in The Shining when the word “murder” was written backward on the door.

Mirror writing has also developed in some people spontaneously after a head injury.

5. Semordnilap

Also known as an emordnilap, this word means a word that, when spelled backward, spells another word.

  • stressed = desserts
  • diva = avid
  • mood = doom
  • way = yaw

Challenge yourself and try using any of these 5 Backward Ways to Use Words.

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