Longest sentence where all words are anagrams?
May 9, 2009 12:01 PM   Subscribe

What is the longest valid English sentence whose words are all anagrams of each other?

This puzzle occurred to me earlier today and I realize that it may not have a good solution. The longest satisfying one I can think of is "Cats cast acts."
posted by pmdboi to Writing & Language (16 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Ooh, "Spear pares spare pears" (inspired by this).
posted by pmdboi at 12:08 PM on May 9, 2009

'Cats cast acts'? I've seen the show, and there's nothing satisfying about that.

How about 'Nastier retsina retains stearin'?
posted by box at 12:09 PM on May 9, 2009

Are repeated words allowed? Cause if so, the upper limit for one complete and valid sentence could be very long. Otherwise, I'm guessing five or six words is max.
posted by Sova at 12:11 PM on May 9, 2009

You may consider this cheating, due to them being zero-step anagrams of each other, but I don't:

"Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo."

I'm not claiming this is the longest, but it's longer than "Cats cast acts."

To make the meaning of this sentence clearer by using analogous words (albeit with different meanings):

Rochester cats Binghamton dogs chase eat Oneonta mice.

Or, to make it clearer:

Cats from Rochester who are chased by dogs from Binghamton eat mice from Oneonta.
posted by Flunkie at 12:13 PM on May 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: 'Angriest ingrates astringe rangiest granites.'
posted by box at 12:13 PM on May 9, 2009 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Sova, I was thinking about that. Technically, the "Buffalo buffalo buffalo etc." style sentences satisfy the request too. Let's stick to no repeats.
posted by pmdboi at 12:16 PM on May 9, 2009

Best answer: Après pears, Paré's apers' asper reaps parse rape's spare spear.

After (eating) pears, the rough bundles of grain belonging to the imitators of Paré* parse the the spare spear belonging to rape.

*French surname.

Grammatically correct (I think), but highly highly non-sensical.

(I hate the 'Buffalo buffalo' example, because two of the three meanings aren't really well known to me, so it just reads like the same word eight times.)
posted by Sova at 12:32 PM on May 9, 2009

This page has a section entitled "Words with many anagrams", which it might be worthwhile looking at.

The letters with the most permutations being words in the OED, as far as that page knows, are A, E, R, S, and T, having 22 permutations: AREST, ARETS, ARTES, ASTER, ATERS, EARST, ERAST, RATES, REATS, REAST, RESAT, SATER, STARE, STEAR, STRAE, STREA, TARES, TARSE, TEARS, TRASE, TREAS.

So maybe look into building a sentence out of those (or some of the others listed on that page).
posted by Flunkie at 12:36 PM on May 9, 2009

Best answer: Well, if I can shove in nouns as adjectives in places that utterly trashes any pretense of sensibility, I've pulled up eight words as well. Also really pushes dictionary obscure, but I think it's grammatically valid.

Resiant stearin stainer retsina retains nastier starnie ratines.
posted by Saydur at 12:38 PM on May 9, 2009

Oh, to define- Resident glyceryl ester of stearic acid Greek resinated wine which stains retains nastier tiny star fabrics made of ratine yarns.
posted by Saydur at 12:44 PM on May 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Proper-noun abuse could probably sneak another couple words in there, e.g. 'Retinas'? That's the name of the wine.
posted by box at 12:47 PM on May 9, 2009

Best answer: You can extend some of these, buffalo-buffalo-buffalo-style, as long as you want.

Spear pares spare pears
(i.e. "A stick peels extra fruits")

Spear spare pears spear pares spare pears
(i.e. "A stick that extra fruits stab peels extra fruits")

Spear spare pears spear pares pears spare spear pares
(i.e. "A stick that extra fruits stab peels the fruits than an extra stick peels")

...and so on ad nauseam.

Or do those count as repeats? If you want no reptetition at all, then yeah, Flunkie's 22 is going to be a ceiling.
posted by nebulawindphone at 2:09 PM on May 9, 2009

Who polices the Police?
Police-police police Police.
Who polices Police-police?
Police-police-police police Police-police.
Who polices Police-police-police?
Police-police-police-police police Police-police-police.
(repeat ad nauseum)
posted by pseudostrabismus at 4:06 PM on May 9, 2009 [2 favorites]

>I hate the 'Buffalo buffalo' example, because two of the three meanings aren't really well known to me

The meanings are:
1. native to Buffalo NY
2. big furry humpy cows (in this case, used in plural form, which is "buffalo")
3. verb meaning "to bully"

Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo
= Buffalo1 buffalo2 buffalo3 Buffalo1 buffalo2
= New York State buffalo cows are known to bully other New York State buffalo cows.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 7:15 PM on May 9, 2009

A webcomic that might have some good examples - Palindramas
posted by cadge at 7:39 AM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

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