William Shatner suggests Jeopardy adopt B.C. boy's invented word
Published Wednesday, November 28, 2018 11:23PM PST
Last Updated Thursday, November 29, 2018 12:17PM PST
I'll take "levidrome" for $500, please!
This may become a new category after it recently caught the attention of Jeopardy, but first, it needs to be formally added to the Oxford English Dictionary.
What is a levidrome? It's a made-up word by a Victoria boy.
Levi Budd was five years old when he noticed the word “stop” was “pots” backwards. He was familiar with palindromes – words or numbers that can be read the same forwards as backwards, like racecar or 1001 – but didn’t know what the word was to describe a word which takes on a new meaning once it is spelled backwards.
The Victoria family decided "levidrome" is as good a word as any and has been campaigning to get it in the Oxford dictionary. They created a video that went viral and grabbed headlines across the country.
But until last week, the word hadn't caught on with the iconic American quiz show. Jeopardy often uses a category of clues called "Forwards and Backwards" and when it recently came up, the family’s biggest Hollywood supporter, William Shatner, sent a tweet to the show saying, "You should change your category to levidrome. It’s a real word and less letters!”
Levi’s father, Lucky Budd, said the family has been overwhelmed by the support.
“The whole process has been mind-blowing from the very beginning. We never thought this little idea would go as far as it has,” Lucky said.
Two days after the tweet went ignored, Shatner asked for the host. That got Jeopardy’s attention, prompting it to tweet back.
“[Trebek] is trying to figure out how a six-year-old might get a word in the dictionary before him!”
Where’s Trebek? He's trying to figure out how a 6-year-old might get a word in the dictionary before him!— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) November 27, 2018
Officials with Oxford Dictionaries said there are rules about which words are accepted and the only way to get levidrome in the dictionary is when a lot of people use the word in their everyday lexicon.
Many people have been doing that since Levi’s video went viral. Students across North America continue to challenge themselves to come up with levidromes. A couple of breweries have also named beers after the clever word.
“The fact that we still don’t have a word for this just goes to show, we really need one. In fact, the Jeopardy thing just shines a light on that,” Lucky said.
When the officials with Oxford Dictionary learned about levidrome in November 2017, they said the word is under consideration and if many people are still using the word after a year, it may be added to the dictionary.
CTV News sent a request for an update and had not heard back from the Oxford Dictionary Wednesday.
But the young wordsmith isn’t losing hope.
“He said, ‘Yeah, dad, getting a word into the dictionary is a really big deal. It’s probably going to take a long time.’ And I thought, ‘That’s a really good attitude,’” Lucky said.
Even though levidrome isn’t technically a word yet, the family said they are happy so many people have made it part of their lives.
“That’s the most incredible thing about it, is watching so many people have fun with language.”
Some dictionaries recognize "semordnilap" – the reverse of palindromes – as the word, but Oxford's website said there is no generally accepted term.