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Significant Anagram

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"I know things look bleak, but even the word 'hopeless' has the word 'hope' in it! Plus, if you rearrange the letters, it spells 'peeslosh'! The last part was probably unnecessary, I'm sorry."
Narrator, BattleBlock Theater

Birch Speed Rice Toe.

Writers frequently give out names which have important anagrams, often as a way of hiding significant facts in plain sight or drawing clever (and plausibly-deniable) parallels between characters. For example, signing something Shroer Pitt. (405 results found.) Or Report Siht!

Similarly, characters hunting for a clever alias, or attempting to rename themselves, have a strange tendency to choose anagrams; compare Sdrawkcab Alias.

For obvious reasons, this is more common in printed media. By necessity, appearances in films or TV shows are often accompanied by Hollywood Spelling.

Perhaps you would like to make a deposit in the Anagram Bin before you leave?

Muscle Explained (Examples Include):

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    Cosmic Trips (Comic Strips) 
  • Aldo Kelrast, a former minor character from Mary Worth, was something of a stalker of the title character.
  • In one strip for Bloom County, Opus find Milo, Binkley, and Hodge Podge playing a game of anagrams to determine their future, and they give an anagram of Milo's name (Limo) as an example. Opus becomes interested and asks them to do his name. When the result comes up as "Soup", he freaks out and nearly has a heart attack. Milo calms him down and assures him that it probably means nothing. Finally, Milo asks Opus for his mother's maiden name. He tells him it's "Bogum", and Milo reveals the word "Gumbo", giving Opus another freak out.
    Hodge: Hell, let's play checkers.
  • Alison Bechdel has used Cleo Baldshein (guerilla therapist), Heloise C. Bland, Delilah B. Scone, and Chloe B. DeSnail in Dykes to Watch Out For and in various calendars.

    Info in Fact (Fanfiction) 
  • In the Lyrical Nanoha fanfic The Name of War, Field General Jefos Lethir, who is running for Prime Minister of Midchildia, has an anagram of "Hitler" for a last name.
  • In Mass Effect's Weightless, when he first came to Omega, Garrus used many aliases; one of those was ‘Han Jaedsper’, which is an anagram of ‘Jane Shepard’. Mierin was able to trace back to him using this clue.
  • In Perfection Is Overrated, one of the final enemies the heroes face, Suzuka Harushiro, is a SUE in Haruka Suzushiro's image with the powers she has in the My-HiME manga.
  • Paradise Thwarted's secondary Big Bad uses the anagram Hazel Prue Fair-Alsip to hide her real name, Aziraphale Pulsifer.
  • The title of Sporadic Phantoms is an anagram of "Animorphs podcast".
  • Turnabout Substitution: Rhea Wits' name becomes It Was Her. And she was the one who came up with the anagram idea in the first place.
  • In Tormentor Harry plays around with anagrams to craft his new name so "Harry James Potter" becomes "Ajas Terror Mephysto."
  • As fans of Kingdom Hearts (see below) enjoy creating Nobodies for themselves (and then writing them into fanfiction), this was parodied in Those Lacking Spines. The resident dragon to the second world of Fandom Hearts is named Xuxastell, which translates to "Axel Slut," or rather as the in-universe Mary Sue in question prefers, "Axel Lust." Similarly, another artificially-created Nobody in that world (original name Jeff) is a bit on the uncreative side, so the best he is able to come up with is Jeffx. This later gets tossed out when he becomes JEFFIROTH.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic Cards Against Equinity, the Mane Six play a ponified version of Cards Against Humanity, and much hilarity and embarrassment ensues. Then Twilight realizes the maker of the game, Dr. Disco, is actually Discord, and him introducing CAH to pony-kind is another of his chaos-causing pranks.
  • In the Gurren Lagann fanfic Wide Awake the name of the asylum's psychologist, seemingly Original Character Doctor Tali Ran Psi, is an anagram of great significance.
  • In The Very Secret Diary, Tom Riddle is, as in canon, fond of these. There is, of course, "Tom Marvolo Riddle" = "I am Lord Voldemort," but there's another one that turns out to be plot important. Ginny at one point assumes Tom had a girlfriend at some point when he was alive, and Tom goes with it because it's what Ginny wants to hear. He then spins an epic love story between himself and the girl, named Viane Folo, deliberately drawing parallels between his "love story" with Viane and his relationship with Ginny, partially to encourage her crush on him. Later, when things begin to go south, Ginny fact-checks his story and finds out Viane Folo never existed. So, why the name? "Viane Folo" = "naive fool."
  • In the Pony POV Series, Celestia and Luna's mother, the Elder Goddess of Life of Empathy, is named Fauna Luster, an anagram for Lauren Faust. Given the Elders created the universe the MLP series takes place in and Fauna Luster herself is the literal Mother of All Things (all souls are directly born from her), it's a fitting anagram.
  • Carmen Sandiego in Parthenogenesis hid her name from her daughter by using an anagram. For the first ten years of her life Maggie knew her mother as "Maria de Cengos". After finding newspapers referring to her mother as the legendary Carmen Sandiego, Maggie is easily able to decipher that her mother's true name had been hidden in plain sight.
  • Half Past Adventure: Shortbelle and Jawffee's name is an anagram of Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff, to which much of their aesthetic is a reference.
  • The Heart Trilogy: While stuck in a human form, Smaug comes up with an alias "Cail Agonn" that is an anagram of Ancalagon, only with one of the a's replaced with an i. When Kathryn questions why Smaug chose to alter the name of Morgoth's greatest dragon for an alias, Smaug says he won't have his real name used in any alteration and reveals himself to be Ancalagon the Black's descendant.
  • This trope is the very basis of All Mixed Up!. The story involves a Big Bad named Maggie Ocean Flounder (whose evil alias, Mariana Mag, is an anagram for "I Am Anagram"), an Odd Squad ex-agent and owner of the FTS Aquarium (the name itself which is an anagram for "M. Flounder's Cipher Headquarters") whose skillset is language and who turned evil after being scolded by Oprah for not liking mathematics like every other agent of her precinct. Because her skillset is language and not mathematics, Precinct 13579 can't figure out why people are being turned into their own personalized anagrammed objects (taken and arranged from their names and "Agent" titles) up until Oscar and Otto use their wits and figure out what's going on, which is when over half the precinct has been attacked. They also meet Carlos, a sentient paper fortune teller who runs the Language Room and is Carol's sister, which is quite fitting since his name is nearly an anagram (Carol has no "S" in her name).
  • Raphie's Revenge: "Dreyane" (as in the company that produces Raphie, the Terrific Talkin' Raven) is an anagram of "yandere", which is what the toys become when left alone for a span of time.

    Posh Pup Stew (Puppet Shows) 
  • In Muppets Tonight, the lounge singer Johnny Fiama is named as a play on Johnny Fontane from The Godfather. His surname is an anagram of "Mafia".

    Do Air (Radio) 
  • In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1978), the part of The Man in the Shack (who doesn't think he rules the Universe) was not cast by the time Radio Times went to press, and so he was billed as "Ron Hate" (an anagram of "A. N. Other" - a standard British pseudonym for an unknown person). The part eventually went to Stephen Moore, who of course was already playing regular character Marvin the Paranoid Android.
  • In the Big Finish Doctor Who Unbound audio Sympathy For The Devil, Colonel Ke Le is played by Sam Kisgart; the anagram hiding that he's Mark Gatiss. His "doing an Ainley" here is just a bit of fun, since knowing Ke Le is played by Gatiss gives the listener no reason to think he's the Master.
    • And Brother Luicius in The Book of Kells is played by Ash Hidminster ( Sheridan Smith - (s)he's Lucie!)

    Blame Pet Goats (Tabletop Games) 
  • Several Magic: The Gathering cards have names which are Significant Anagrams, such as:
    • Phelddagrif (Garfield PhD)
    • Pemmin's Aura (I Am Superman)
    • Mangara, which is an anagram of...anagram.
    • The least dignified is probably Telim'Tor, which is anagrammed from a designer who attempted to get nicknamed after a household appliance and was thusly dubbed "Mr. Toilet".
    • Onulet's name was anagrammed from Soul Net (both cause you to gain life when a creature goes to the graveyard) but had the final "S" removed because the art had only one creature. Later cards were anagrammed from "Darker Onulet" and "Mega Onulet".
    • If backwards spelling counts, there's Nevinyrral's Disk.
    • Slightly less old-school, 2007's Lorwyn set had Liliana Vess. With her dark magic and dealings with demons, she might be considered "A Villainess", though Word of God says it was completely accidental.
    • Olivia Voldaren, a vampire legend from Innistrad block, anagrams to "Overdo a Villain", which fits because she tries and fails to be Liliana and/or Sorin.
    • Genius Bonus: Bösium Strip lets you recycle cards, and the Möbius strip is a symbol for recycling. A related card is Elkin Bottle.
    • The cards Mijae Djinn and Ydwen Efreet were named after a married couple at Wizards, Jamie and Wendy. Note the similarity of their abilities.
  • In the Warhammer Genevieve series, the minor character Alvdov Renastic is revealed to be Vlad von Carstein, the last descendant of a famous vampire family. However he's not actually a vampire yet, and is using the pseudonym to hide from his family and associated hangers-on who want to turn him into one and demand he conquers the Empire. All he wants to do is pursue a career as a ventriloquist. Note that this is not a perfect anagram, as "Alvdov Renastic" contains only one n and "Vlad von Carstein" contains two.
  • In Shadowrun, Dr. Penelope Ann Xavier is this. She is the infamous Dissonant-Otaku-turned-Technomancer Pax, leader of the dissonant otaku tribe Ex Pacis, who were one of the perpetrators of Crash 2.0 by creating the Daemon-Worm construct Jormungand. She is also the one responsible for the Boston Lockdown, which happened because she tried to upload her old master, the Artificial Intelligence Deus, into the brain of the dragon Eliohann, whose mind had been lost in the Matrix following the second Crash.
  • Several characters in Freedom in the Galaxy have names that are anagrams (or near-anagrams) of SPI designers:
    • Senator Dermond (Redmond [Simonsen])
    • Darb Selesh (Brad Hessel)
    • Drakir Grebb (Richard Berg)
    • Xela Grebb (Alex Berg, son of Richard Berg. In the game, Xela Grebb is the father of Drakir Grebb.)
    • Tensok Phi (Phil Kosnett)

    The Tear (Theatre) 
  • In The Mystery of Irma Vep:
    IRMA: Oh triple fool! Did you not know that Irma Vep is "vampire" anagrammatized!
  • Accidental but really cool example: To be or not to be: that is the question, whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. becomes... "In one of the Bard's best-thought-of tragedies, our insistent hero, Hamlet, queries on two fronts about how life turns rotten."
  • The Complete History Of America plays this for Vulgar Humor to explain the meaning of the name "America." Signs show that the eight letters of "America" can be rearranged to spell "I CAN REAM," that the letters in the name of George Washington can be rearranged to spell "GAGGIN' ON WET HORSE" ("actually the title of a popular song at the time of the Revolution"), and the letters in the name of Spiro Agnew (Richard Nixon's vice-president), when rearranged, spell "GROW A PENIS."
  • In The Last Dance of Dr. Disco, Agent X, aka Dylan Wanker, appears to solve the death of Agent Y, Lynda Newark. As the other characters realize in the denouement, Dylan is an anagram from Lynda and Wanker for Newark. Lynda was the real Agent X.
  • David Hirson's comedy La Bete is an homage to the works of the 17th century French playwright Molière, especially ones like The School for Wives Criticized and The Impromptu at Versailles that involve a "play within a play" structure coupled with an Author Tract on playwrighting does and don'ts. To this end, Hirson's play features a fictional 16th century playwright named Elomire, which besides being an anagram of Moliere's name, has the additional benefit of sounding like one of the unusual, often Greek-derived names Moliere gave to his characters.

    We Sic Comb (Webcomics) 

    Bare Wing Oil (Web Original) 
  • Mr. Ian Woon from The Wolf's Will is an anagram of NaNoWriMo; this also counts as a Shout-Out.
  • Slider counterparts of canon characters in Suzumiya Haruhi no Yaku-Asobi use either these, Sdrawkcab Names, or wordplay on their canon equivalents (Har[uhi]riet Isuzu[miya]). Tsuruya -> Rayutsu, Kimidori -> Rimidoki, etc.
  • Broken Saints has a particularly nice one: LEAR/SPEC/SILO, aka... (try figuring them out on your own first)
  • This Troper is also an anagram of "Report this".
  • In one of the Whateley Universe stories, this trope is lampshaded when Aquerna (real name: Anna Raquel Parsons) finds her friends trying to make anagrams of her name that contain her codename. The best anyone comes up with are 'Aquerna plans sonar' and 'Aquerna sans la porn'. Neither makes any sense.
  • Warm Voices Rearranged is a music Review Blog where the reviews are anagrams of the albums themselves (always including both the artist name and album title) - fittingly "Warm Voices Rearranged" is an anagram for "Anagram Record Reviews". While not strictly a "review", their anagram for GG Allin And The Murder Junkies' Brutality And Bloodshed For All, the final album Allin recorded in his lifetime, is scarily accurate: "I'll rally at drug den, shoot junk and die right before album lands."
  • The Unusual Suspect in his review of The Matrix that Neo is an anagram of One, and he also points out that Justin Timberlake is an anagram for "i'm a Jerk but lisTen."
  • In Noob, Master Zen's original French Online Alias is "Maître Zen". One of his female minions, who's in mad love with him, chose the Online Alias "Nazetrîme". The webseries and novel versions of the story had her spend time as The Mole among Master Zen's former subordinates (the protagonists) without any of them suspecting a thing until she showed up in front of them with her real gaming avatar. And once that happened, only one of the smartest ones started looking for an anagram.
    • One segment has a reading of "The Keeper", by an unknown author, for Doc Hornet. "Doc Hornet" is soon after stated to be an anagram of "The Condor", the only known name of the winner of a previous version of Rabbits.
    • In high school, Carly drew a comic called "Priesthood One". At the end of the fifth episode, which shares that title, Concernicus Jones tells Carly that the name is an anagram of "The Door is Open", the phrase that begins every iteration of Rabbits.
  • Critical Role: Goblin rogue Nott the Brave from the second campaign: her chosen name is an anagram for her halfling birth name: Veth Brenatto.


Tom Marvolo Riddle

Switch the letters of his name around, and it says...

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

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