A six-year-old Canadian boy has received some high-profile backing after coming up with a new word – levidromes.
Levi Budd has a fascination with palindromes – words that form the same word whether spelled forwards or backwards – but was confused to learn that there wasn’t a name for words that spell a different word when spelled backwards, like stop and pots.
After his dad Lucky Budd uploaded a video to YouTube, the likes of Star Trek’s William Shatner jumped on a campaign to get the word officially recognised.
The video explained that one day when Levi saw a “stop” sign, he asked his mum what the name was for words that spelled a valid word in reverse.
Levidromes is the word that the family have proposed, and it would be fitting for a boy who has had a fascination with language from a young age, according to his dad, to have a word like this named after him.
“Levi loves words and books. He has a great vocabulary because he reads so many books. The other day I was trying to explain how I was feeling about something and he correctly told me, with a big cheeky giggle and smile on his face, that I was feeling apprehensive,” Lucky said.
He’s currently lost in the words of Roald Dahl – a feeling many people will be familiar with – and is “thrilled” with all the support the campaign for levidromes is getting.
Levi’s five favourite levidromes are: drawer-reward, spider-redips, edit-tide, diaper-repaid, nametag-gateman.
Merriam Webster had already said they’d consider the word if it increases in circulation, and since getting such high-profile backing – Patricia Arquette also tweeted support – Oxford Dictionaries has said the same.
An Oxford Dictionaries editor said: “Levi, there are many new words every year. Some very clever ones, and some very useful ones. We don’t add all of these words to our dictionary – we’d never sleep if we did – instead we only add the words that get used by a lot of people for a long time.
“Lots of people know your word, and know what it means, which means levidrome is well on its way into our dictionary.”
The word has been added to Oxford’s words to watch so, if it continues to be used outside of the campaign, it could well be in the dictionary in a year or so.
At Levi’s school there’s a board up in the hallway where students are encouraged to add any new levidromes they come up with, and that alone is making Levi a very happy boy.
“Levi is having a lot of fun and has an opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations about language, which is really exciting for him. That really has been the best part of this whole process!”
So there you go, a new word to introduce around the table this Christmas.