Have you ever had a word on the tip of your tongue, only to find the exact word you are looking for doesn’t actually exist? It’s infuriating when every word you can think of doesn’t quite match what you are trying to say, and you can’t put your finger on its exact definition.
This is what happened to Levi Budd, a six-year-old from British Columbia in Canada.
On the way to school one day, Levi noticed that the “STOP” sign spelled “POTS” when read backwards. Although he knew that a word which is spelled the same forwards as it is backwards – such as “racecar’– is a palindrome”, he couldn’t think of a word that spells something else backwards.
While some people had been ironically using the word “semordnilap” – palindromes spelled backwards – to describe these words, there was nothing officially decided.
“When the dictionary yielded no official word for such a phenomenon, he did what any five-year-old would do: ‘We should name it after me! It isn’t a palindrome, it should be a Levidrome!'” Levi’s dad Lucky Budd explained to Study International.
Since creating the new word, Levi has inspired a Twitter-storm of enthusiasm for his new invention beyond what they could have ever imagined.
Keen to get his word officially recognised, people have been tweeting English Oxford Dictionary, including high-profile figures such as actor William Shatner.
English Oxford Dictionary has responded to Levi, telling him his word is on their “words to watch list” but to make it into the dictionary people need to start using the word independently of Levi’s campaign.
“Levi’s teachers and his whole school are very excited about these words,” Lucky said.
Not only has Levi created a word for himself, he is expanding education for other children, too. Levidrome boards have made an appearance in his school and in classrooms around the world, showing that more words are being discussed.
“This whole thing has exceeded our expectations more than we can say. We had no idea that the idea would catch on so quickly or even at all,” said Lucky.
“It is an amazing thing to be a part of, and it is clearly seeping into how people, schools, teachers and many people all over think about words.”
The word is now being used independently of Levi, meaning it is well on its way to becoming a recognised word in the Oxford English Dictionary.
If you would like to see “levidrome” make it into the dictionary, join the discussion on Twitter and beyond.