- Religion and Philosophy
LIVE - EVIL: an Ambigram and Semordnilap?
LIVE and EVIL are portrayed as opposites and also a popular ambigram often used in tattoos, jewellery etc. "By keeping LIVE in the forefront you keep EVIL in the background."
However, what you may not know is that this word that reads as different words forwards and backwards is actually called a Semordnilap.
Palindromes, Ambigrams, or Semordnilap?
People often confuse palindromes and ambigrams. Both are forms of wordplay that rely on symmetry. Both have to do with writing words so that they can be read in multiple ways. But that’s where the similarity ends. Palindromes are words, phrases or sentences that can be read forwards or backwards, such as "kayak". “No x in Nixon” or “Madam I’m Adam” are examples of two famous phrases. Ambigrams are a kind of visual pun, where the shapes of the letters can be interpreted in two or more ways.
An ambigram is a word, art form or other symbolic representation whose elements retain meaning when viewed or interpreted from a different direction, perspective, or orientation.(Wikipedia)
A good way of differentiating between the two is by looking at a few examples. Consider the word “palindromes.” As it turns out, the word “palindromes” is NOT a palindrome. Reading it backwards actually gets you the almost unpronounceable “semordnilap.” “Semordnilap,” is, in fact, a recent but real word meaning words that can be read as two different words, backwards and forwards. This is in contrast to palindromes that read the same when reading backwards or forwards. The word “dog” which reads “god” backwards is a simple semordnilap. "Desserts" and "stressed" also, "diaper" and "repaid."
And Then There Are Anagrams
Now, to add to the confusion, we have the anagram.
An anagram is direct word switch or word play, the result of rearranging the letters of a word or phrase to produce a new word or phrase, using all the original letters exactly once; for example, the word anagram can be rearranged into "nag a ram". (Wikipedia)
EVIL is in fact an anagram of LIVE. So is VILE. It makes me wonder who came up with the terms and how such totally different words can be interconnected. Was there a reason for it? LIVE vs DIE, and GOOD vs EVIL are most commonly seen as the opposites. Maybe, this indicates that GOOD and LIVE are connected, as are DIE and EVIL. I like to think so anyway.
So, the words LIVE and EVIL can be a Semordnilap, Anagram, and Ambigram.
Life's Gamble - a Poem
Live or die,
Good or evil,
Or choose the Devil.
The choice is yours
Thrown to the wind.
You can be good,
Or turn to sin.
So, take a chance
And throw the dice.
Take where it lands,
You can't throw twice.
A gambler's luck
Often runs out,
So if you lose
It's Hell's way out.