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Backwards Baby Names

Semaj, which is the name James spelled backwards, has ranked among the top 1,000 boy names in the U.S. since 1999. Nomar, which is Ramon spelled backwards, has never ranked before but has become widely known thanks to baseball player Nomar Garciaparra. I've also seem Kevin flipped to become Nivek, Manuel flipped to become Leunam, and Michael flipped to become Leahcim.

Could flipped names like these be signs of a trend?

Maybe. It's a tough sell, though, because most names simply aren't flippable. Names like Wyatt, Joaquin and Phoebe become unpronounceable (Ttayw, Niuqaoj, Ebeohp). Names like Liam, Damon and Tessa turn into non-name words (mail, nomad, asset).

But other names can be flipped. Some of these names serendipitously turn into unrelated names that already exist. The names Noel, Aidan and Flor become Leon, Nadia and Rolf, for instance. Others (like all the names in the first paragraph) turn into entirely new names.

Here are some more names that work well backwards:

And don't forget the possibility of flipping everyday words to make them into names. If you started with the words nomad and asset, for instance, you'd end up with Damon and Tessa.

The most famous (and successful!) example of this would be Nevaeh, which is the word Heaven spelled backwards. It has skyrocketed in popularity over the last several years and is currently the 34th most popular girl name in the nation.

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