Words to Love: Join the #LEVIDROME Movement


Back in December, Whiskers had a post all about an intrepid little lad from Canada who is on a quest to get a word he created admitted into the Oxford English Dictionary. Do you remember the word? (If you don’t, it’s okay. Cheat and check out the post here.)

Or, I could just tell you: The word is levidrome. It means a word that spells one word forwards, but when read backwards, spells a different word. 

Well, since that time, the movement to get levidrome entered into the OED has gained quite a bit of momentum. 

In January, Whisker On Kittens went on Twitter. That’s right, dear readers, Whiskers now tweets (albeit intermittently). The Levidrome movement is going full force on Twitter. 

And, because I’m such a word person, I’ve jumped in to do my part. How, you might ask?

Well, since I’m such an intermittent tweeter, I try to come up with a levidrome a week and tweet it with the hashtag, #levidrome. This has allowed me to interact with fellow logophiles- shout out to Chris, who has a really good favorite levidrome: wolf = flow- and has also broadened my knowledge of the scope the word has in the real world. 

Levidrome is gaining traction. All over the world, teachers, students, parents, professionals, and word-y people like myself are posting about levidromes. I have to say, I have gotten quite excited about being a part of this.

Today I thought I’d share with you some of the ways the movement Get Levidrome into the OED has grown. 

Teachers in Ontario, British Columbia, and Maui are making levidrome boards with their students. One of these boards is all in French as it’s at a French school in British Columbia. If you’re a teacher, perhaps you could consider implementing this game with your kids. I know I’m gonna start doing this with my students. 

Out of Toronto, snapd Beach/Danford, a free printed publication distributed monthly specializing in non-political entertainment and community oriented events, has created a levidrome word search. It’s double the fun because for each word you find, you’ve found another. How many can you find?


Internationally, there is a sign game, where people take photos of signs they encounter during their day to day which have levidromes on them. This has expanded from simply signage to include various publications and the like, too. Here are a few. 

MyGrain Brewing Company out of Joliet, IL has named one regal lager (see what I did there?), Levidrome

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British Columbian folk singer Lola Parks has written a song about levidromes called the Levidrome song. 

A web developer name Manish Sabharwal has developed a Levidrome Validator where you can plug in a word to see if Oxford Words offers a viable definition for the flip of that word. 

It’s bit by bit, but we levidromers (which I’m pretty sure is also a new word…) are making progress. The OED assures us that they are still paying attention. Therefore, every tweet, hashtag, blog post, Facebook entry, blog comment, Instagram comment… you name it, every mention of levidrome in the cyber sphere gains more and more momentum for the word’s induction into the dictionary. 

So, let’s all lend a hand. It’s fun and it’s contributing to something that many people never give much thought to: the growth and improvement of our language. 

Now, for some fun, I’ll give you a few levidromes I like. 

First, I must begin with Monty Python and the Holy Grail. If you’re unfamiliar with this film, you need to rent it and watch it. It’s a classic comedy chock full of quotables. (Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries… I fart in your general direction… take thou thy holy hand grenade… Bring us a shrubbery... just to name a few.) One of the characters encountered by the knights on their quest to find the Holy Grail are the Knights Who Say Ni. (I am well aware that one and knights are at odds with each other, but if you watch the clip provided, you’ll see that the knights are actually only one knight though he refers to himself in the plural) They are the keepers of that sacred word- ni, whose definition no one knows, but whose flip is in.  

Ni = In 

And, as we’re on films that have levidromes in them, I did tweet about Stephen King’s The Shining. I believe that movie was one of the only times when utter nonsense amounted to a horrifying levidrome

Murder = Redrum 

I cannot read that word without pronouncing it in that eerie croak Danny Torrence uses in the movie. 

Then there is the flip side of the Greek god, Zeus, which is the Egyptian canal, Suez.

Zeus = Suez

And, because I couldn’t possibly leave you all without something literary, here’s an archaic term I came across in Sir Walter Scott’s Rob Roy: “A sort o’ drow in the air.”

Drow = Word

I did discover, quite by accident, that according to the Urban Dictionary, drow is actually supposed to be a synonym for levidrome, invented by Suzanne Whang’s father (Suzanne Whang of House Hunter fame). However, since I have been searching out the grander origins of this entry with no such corroborative evidence, I am inclined to dismiss it. Not to mention, that drow already has its own definition in the OED- two noun entries and one verb, to be exact- and none of them mean a word that spells one word forwards and another word backwards. But then again, it’s the Urban Dictionary; they’re not concerned with the viability of an actual dictionary entry as much as with the cataloging of modern day colloquialisms. (Although, considering how people have tried to get semordnilap- palindrome spelled backwards- as a viable contender for a levidrome synonym, I think drow is far more pronounceable.) 

Have you seen any levidromes in the wild, graffitied on the side of buildings or printed on signs or on the cover of a magazines? 

What levidromes do you like? 

Can you think of a way you can help get this word out there in the public use so it can gain entry into the private club known as the Oxford English Dictionary?