Take a look at the numbers below. What do they have in common? Do they evoke a sense of “pleasure” when your eyes see them?

8778     6116     1771     9009     0880 *

No lah, I am not talking about the delight you sometimes get when you check out 4D numbers [see footnote] on Teletext. The fact is, the list above comprises numbers that read the same left-to-right and right-to-left, a form of symmetry. And such numbers have a special name: Palindromes.

* Note: 0880 is even more special — it reads the same upside down!

Just imagine this — if your mobile number were 8123-3218 or other symmetrical digit strings, how special it would be! I wouldn’t mind bidding for a palindromic phone number like this.

Palindromes apply to words, phrases and sentences as well. It’s a little tricky though with the latter two, as sometimes punctuation marks are needed for them to make sense. Let’s look at some examples in the English language.

One famous palindrome that comes to mind is the following sentence, which was supposedly what Adam said to Eve when he first saw her…

“Madam, I’m Adam.”

Tips: The blue highlight should help you see the “backwards” Adam in “Madam. The comma, apostrophe and period are discarded.”

Other famous palindromes include:

Sex at noon taxes
A man, a plan, a canal — Panama!

All short and sweet, and they read the same backwards 😉 There are loads of examples on the ‘Net — just key in the search term “Palindromes”. Or challenge yourself to craft one that is not meaningless.


What is 4D?

4D stands for 4 digits, which is a popular lottery game in Singapore. Actually, more like a national obsession as many are seen trying their hand with Lady Luck at the numerous betting locations all over the country. Draws are held on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

If you are plainly curious, have a look at the Singapore Pools website.

Note: WittyCulus.com DOES NOT promote gambling. To me, the Internet is about connecting information and people, and I feel strongly that readers unfamiliar with the Singapore scene should not be alienated; hence the Pools website link.

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