Anagrams are the sort of sick fascination we word nerds embrace. For those who haven’t previously played with anagrams, an anagram can be made by using all the letters in a given word, phrase or sentence & re-arranging them into something new.
For instance, here are two anagrams of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer:
Deep northern lurid horse deed
Horror: deep tennis hurdle deed
Below please find some anagrams. Each group can be translated into a phrase we’re likely to hear this time of year.
Festive Anagram 1
Ahoy, hippy lads
Holy yap aphids
Ashy hippo lady
Soy aphid phyla
Popish lady hay
Aphid hay ploys
Festive Anagram 2
Hydro jot towel
Jowly red tooth
Do lower thy jot
Throw, pot, yodel
Festive Anagram 3
Reenact a hope
Prehost a cone
A coherent ape
Create a phone
A threep canoe
Please translate the three festive anagrams into their original forms & leave your translations in the comments section, OR play around with a festive anagram of your own & enter your list of translations in the comments section for others to ponder (old schoolers prefer to create anagrams with pen, pencil & grey matter, however this online anagram tool is speedier.
My thanks go out to this week’s source: Andy’s Anagram Solver
The Oxford English Dictionary offers one full page on the word compose and over two pages on its forms (composition, composed, composer, composedness…).
Surprisingly, the word compose was used to refer to putting words on paper as early as the 1480s, yet wasn’t applied to writing music until the 1590s.
Compose comes to English from Latin through French. It’s made up of com- which means together & -posere, which means to place or put down. What I find most intriguing are the varied meanings of compose over the years. I love how they tweak my thinking about what it is to compose.
Here are a few from a very long list:
- to invent & put into proper form
- to arrange artistically
- to tranquilize
- to form words and blocks of words (to set type)
- to compound or to mix
- to settle, adjust or arrange
- to make seemly & orderly
- to lay out a dead body
Modern mystery writers take that last definition so seriously, they try to “lay out a dead body” in the first chapter of every novel. John Irving, Robertson Davies and their devotees really take the “to compound or to mix” definition seriously, getting some of their joy from weaving unlikely themes and topics together. There are days when any of us writers feel as though all we’re doing is forming “words and blocks of words” which we pray will have some value the following day.
On a more twisted note, a quick visit to Brendan's On-Line Anagram Generator produces six anagrams for compose, my favorite three being:
- cop some
- spec moo
- scoop me
And what kind of light does that throw on the subject?
Which shades of meanings appeal to you and your composing process? You'll find the portal to comments at the top of the post.
Thanks to this week’s sources, Brendan's On-Line Anagram Generator etymonline.com, the OED, & wordnik.com.
I write for teens, narrate audio books, bake bread, play music, and ponder the wonder of words in a foggy little town on California's central coast.