Words. They’re around us every second of every minute of every day. They’re spoken, written and read aloud. They are the tools we use to communicate.
Words can inspire us. They can bring us to tears. They can motivate us to action. They can make us laugh. They can arouse every emotion known to man within our hearts.
They can also be lots of fun to play with! If you’ve ever done a crossword puzzle or a word search, you know word games can be fun. Today’s Wonder of the Day is about a specific type of wordplay that kids love: anagrams!
An anagram is a word game that involves rearranging the letters of a word or group of words to make a new word or group of words. The only rule: you have to use all the original letters just once.
The original word or group of words is called the subject of the anagram. Any word or group of words you make by rearranging the letters of the subject is called an anagram.
Rather than simply coming up with any new word or group of words, people who love anagrams challenge themselves to come up with anagrams that in some way comment on or reflect the subject. For example, “the eyes” can be rearranged into “they see.” Or “listen” can be rearranged into “silent.”
Anagrams have also often been used to disguise names or to create aliases. Harry Potter fans probably already know that “Tom Marvolo Riddle” is really “I am Lord Voldemort.” In fact, historians have traced the origin of anagrams back to the time of Moses, when anagrams were used to discover the hidden meaning behind names.
Anagrams are fun to do on their own. But they’re also a part of many other types of word games. If you’ve ever played Boggle, completed the Jumble in a newspaper or tried your hand at a cryptic crossword puzzle, you’ve used anagrams as part of those games.