If you’re a fan of word scrambles and other word puzzles, you might find yourself using the verb ‘anagram’ a lot. Something like: “I didn’t realize ‘Britney Spears’ anagrams to ‘Best in Prayers’!” Or: “I anagrammed the letters of ‘turtle’ to find the word ‘utter.’” But can the word ‘anagram’ actually be used as a verb? We’ll explore that question, as well as other questions about anagrams, below.
What is an Anagram?
An anagram is a word or phrase that can be created by rearranging the letters of another word or phrase. For instance, ‘God’ is an anagram of ‘dog,’ and ‘cider’ is an anagram of ‘cried.’ There are also anagrams that don’t use every letter of the original word, like ‘plane’, which can be created from ‘elephant,’ or ‘deer’, which can be created from ‘fireside.’
Anagrams have been around for a long time, and there are many word scramble games that are based on the idea of anagrams. For instance, Scrabble, Words with Friends, and Wordscapes are all word scramble games that require the assembly of words from random letters. And practicing word scrambles like this can be good for your brain. Research has shown that playing word games actually keeps your brain healthier and younger than other types of games!
Sometimes, anagrams can be hard to solve. That’s why the Word Finder has an Anagram Solver that can help you come up with ideas when you’re stuck.
Can Anagram be Used as a Verb?
Yes, “anagram” can be used as a verb. According to Merriam-Webster, the verb ‘anagram’ means the same thing as ‘anagrammatize’: to create an anagram from letters. This means you can say something like I anagrammed the letters of ‘turtle’ to find the word ‘utter’ without any concerns about grammatical correctness!
But can you say one word ‘anagrams’ into another word? Unfortunately, no. Because ‘anagrams’ doesn’t mean ‘rearranges’ but means ‘creates an anagram’, it requires an actor to be involved with the verb. In other words, there has to be a person who is doing the anagramming! That means you can’t say ‘Britney Spears’ anagrams into ‘Best in Prayers’, although you could say Britney Spears had a free afternoon so spent some time anagramming words.
History of the Word Anagram
You might think that the usage of ‘anagram’ as a verb is relatively new. But surprisingly, the verb form of ‘anagram’ has been around almost as long as the noun. According to Merriam-Webster, the noun form of the word was first used in 1589. It was only thirty years later that the verb form popped up in 1622, meaning both forms of the word ‘anagram’ are around 400 years old.
Examples of Acceptable vs. Ungrammatical Sentences
It can be hard to internalize abstract grammar rules. Here are a few more examples of when you can and can’t use ‘anagram’ as a verb, to help you remember for the next time you’re chatting with someone.
- I anagrammed ‘debit card’ into ‘bad credit.’
- When she was playing Scrabble, she anagrammed the letters ‘lhopeed’ into over eighty different words.
- He loves playing word scramble games because he is really good at anagramming random letters into words.
- Everyone knows that ‘God’ anagrams to ‘dog.’
- Did you know ‘the earthquakes’ anagrams into ‘the queer shakes’?
- She was surprised to find that the letter combo ‘qudre’ anagrammed into fourteen different words.