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Words that ROT-13 into anagrams of themselves

All right, so the list of words that ROT-13 into their reverse is already known.

Makyo mentioned this afternoon that ‘arena’ is almost an anagram of itself in ROT-13 (it’s neran) and of course I was struck with the urge to find out which and how many words actually are rearrangements of themselves after ROT-13 is applied. Forty-five minutes later I had a little Ruby script up and cooking over /usr/share/dict/words, and it came back with 73 results.

The longest result it found is tangantangan (a vernacular name for Leucaena leucocephala, an invasive species of tree), which ROT-13s as ‘gnatnagnatna’.

Other polysyllables are banovina (→ onabivan) and emblazonry (→ rzoynmbael); some less esoteric examples are nearly (→ arneyl), regret (→ erterg), and paunch (→ cnhapu).

Most of the results are not meaningful in their ROT-13ed form, with some exceptions which may be cheating (Anna = naan, vina = Ivan).

The full list is here.

Edit: A 2008 thread in uk.rec.sheds calls these “perfect ROTs”. Darin Franklin had also found tangantangan among other such examples by 2004. For some reason Google didn’t show me all this before I did the work…

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