Dictionary Ambigrams

So there is this building for lease that I occasionally pass on West Burnside.  It is called The Weave Building and has a logo that is almost, but not quite, an ambigram:

I like how they were a little liberal on the letter usage in the almost-ambigram of “building”, leaving part of the descender off the G and still dotting the i’s.

I wondered how many words in the English language were naturally ambigrams using these fast and loose rules.  I started with a list of matching letters as rules, trying to be very relaxed with the rules.  For example I considered the A and V to be equal in much the same way the Weave Building considered g and b to be — it’s easy to overlook the horizontal line in the A.  A lowercase h could look like a y upside, or when uppercase it could look like another H.  And so on.  The final list of rules looks a little something like this:

  • A => V
  • b => gq
  • d => q
  • g => b
  • h => Hy
  • i => Ii
  • l => 7l
  • m => Ww
  • n => Nu
  • o => Oo
  • p => d
  • q => b
  • s => Ss
  • t => t
  • u => n
  • v => A
  • w => Mm
  • x => Xx
  • y => h
  • z => Zz

I then wrote a quick C program to scan the Unix dictionary.  A few seconds later, I had a measly 28 words that were dictionary ambigrams according to my rules:

  • big
  • bog
  • bung
  • gib
  • gob
  • hoy
  • i
  • l
  • mow
  • nu
  • o
  • oto
  • otto
  • pod
  • s
  • sis
  • sooloos
  • t
  • tit
  • toot
  • tot
  • tst
  • un
  • unsun
  • wim
  • woom
  • x
  • z

And, admittedly, some of those aren’t even proper words but single letters!  But I did catch great words like bung and toot!

Posted in: Code Dear Diary Projects

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Brian Enigma

Brian Enigma is a Portlander, manipulator of atoms & bits, minor-league blogger, and all-around great guy. He typically writes about the interesting “maker” projects he's working on, but sometimes veers off into puzzles, software, games, local news, and current events.

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