Sunday, February 06, 2005


I like to play with anagrams. One of the exercises I do is to make a list of dictionary definitions, based on the anagrams that can be found in a given word. It is amazing sometimes, the hidden meanings that appear! This list-poem owns a debt to Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary, and is (I hope you will agree) a playful look at the "dark side" of Medicine.

The Devil’s Dictionary of Medical Terms

Allergies: Large lies. Eager ills.
Antibiotics: Is it botanic?
Antidepressant: President Satan.
Appendicitis: Septic ‘n’ I paid.
C-section: Nice cost.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Oh, my secure grand fiction!
Depression: Snide poser. Person dies.
Dementia: I’d eat men. Detain me.
Dermatitis: Am dirtiest.
Diabetes Mellitus: Diet abuses met ill.
Erectile Dysfunction: Lucifer’s indecent toy.
Flatulence: Clean flute.
Gastroenteritis: Rattiest regions.
Gall stones: Lost angels.
Heart Attacks: That’s a racket.
Hepatitis: I spit hate.
Hypertension: Shy inner poet.
Lower Back Pain: Incapable work.
Manic Depressive: Impressive dance.
Migraine: I’m in rage.
Neurotic: Unerotic.
Night Sweats: Things waste.
Nocturnal Enuresis: Encounters urinals. In unclean trousers.
Prostate Cancer: Crap! Not as erect. Procreates? Can’t.
Renal Failure: Funereal lair.
Surgery: Guys err.
Tension Headache: Death’s inane echo.
Uterine Prolapse: Plenteous repair.
Vasectomy: My octaves!
Whiplash Injury: Shh! I win jury, pal.
X-ray Department: Darn pretty exam.
Yeast Vaginitis: It’s a nasty I give.
Zoonotic Diseases: Societies and zoos.


barbara jane said...

hi peter: teehee this is so awesome! thanks for linking my blog (but yr link to me is broken...)

once again thanks for sharing. peace, barbara

Peter said...

Thx B:
I think the link is fixed now. Your blog is awesome.

C. Dale said...

These are great! My ex-partner had a fascination with anagrams. Come to think of it, I think he even has a poem in couplets where the end words are anagrams of each other. Anyway, love these.

Peter said...

Hi C Dale:
Glad you like the anagrams. They were a helluva lotta fun to do. Hehehe.
Sorry if they made you cringe by reminding you of your ex. But I'd love to see his poem where the couplet end words are anagrams of each other . . . where could I find it?

Charles said...

This is easily one of the most interesting, significant, and hilarious things I've read in a long time. :)

C. Dale said...

Peter, I think you have read it. You recommend his book at Amazon. And no, I didn't cringe. The anagrams just reminded me of him. No ill will, just memory.

Suzanne said...

omg, Peter, these are too funny! Really, great. :-)

jenni said...

Wow, that's easily one of the most interesting/clever anagrams I've read--yet, it escapes just being clever by having a humorous dose of truth. I forget who said, "No man is more serious than when he is joking."

This one made me choke on my coffee:

Flatulence: Clean flute.



A.R.B. said...

Playful, indeed, Peter. We sometimes forget about “fun”. Thanks for the reminder.


Peter said...

Thanks all: I'm glad if I could give you a chuckle or two. --Peter

Randall Mann said...

Hi Peter,

Here's the poem to which C. Dale was referring.

Randall Mann

The Heron

A pond the color of Oriental teas.
A heron refusing to look anywhere but east.

Mangroves flecked with a fire,
deep-set birches rife

with the wait for night. In stone,
the heron stares: the stoic tones

of the sky a storied procession of palms;
their red-tipped fronds, overhanging lamps.

Water-bird, it has been centuries since I felt
anything for you. You have been left:

look around. Why does the owl
rest on a goddess's shoulder while you wade so low?