The Anagram Game
I have a question.
Is AEGNNTT an anagram of TANGENT?
According to wordsmith.org, it’s not. That site defines an anagram as “a word or phrase formed by rearranging the letters of another word or phrase.”
But the game Anagrams involves forming words from a random collection of letters.
In the book Word Freak, author Stefan Fatsis calls AEGNNTT an alphagram of TANGENT. It’s a rearrangement of the letters in alphabetical order.
Recently, my sons and I have been playing The Anagram Game. Generally, I give them a random collection of letters, so perhaps the name is a misnomer. In any case, they have fun trying to rearrange the letters into real words. Sometimes, I present them with a collection of letters that happens to form a word; for instance, tonight I gave them N-I-G-H-T. They quickly rearranged the letters to form THING. Sometimes, I put the letters into alphabetical order, like A-A-B-B-E-L-L-S. Eli impressed me by decoding that one in less than a second: BASEBALL. But most times, I give them a random arrangement of letters, like U-N-A-T, which can form TUNA or AUNT.
Anyone know what you call an random arrangement of letters that can be rearranged to form a word or phrase? If no such word exists, then I would like to suggest scramblagram.
While playing the Anagram Game yesterday, I presented Alex with G-O-N-L. “No, daddy,” he said, “the best anagram of LONG is N-G-L-O.”
Well. I guess I stand corrected.
I asked him, “Is there a best anagram of LAWN?”
He immediately answered, “W-N-L-A.”
“And is there a best anagram of WALK?”
He again answered quickly: “L-K-W-A.”
Interestingly, Eli agreed with him in every case. Apparently my four-year-old sons are privy to a universal truth regarding the reordering of letters in a word, about which I am helplessly unaware.
Luckily, Alex was willing to reveal the pattern. “I always put the two back letters first, then the first letter, and then the vowel.”
So there you have it. The system only works for words of the form consonant-vowel-consonant-consonant, but that’ll do just fine if you’re looking for scramblagrams of LIST, PARK, SULK, BOWL, or RENT.
As it turns out, the word anagrams itself has an anagram: ars magna (Latin, “great art”).
The following are several of my favorite mathy anagrams.
ELEVEN + TWO = TWELVE + ONE
decimal point = I’m a dot in place
schoolmaster = the classroom
What is the square root of nine? = THREE, for an equation shows it!