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The handy Latin phrase absit omen means “let this not be an omen” or, more colloquially, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this, but let’s hope I’m wrong.” (Consider it the verbal equivalent of knocking wood.) I’ve often thought it had the right mix of common letters to have a one-word anagram, but I’ve never found one. I therefore decided to turn to Wordmine and Wordsmith, two online engines that check for anagrams in multiple languages, though I limited the searches to English, French, and Spanish. I then fed the French and Spanish results into Wiktionary, whose entries often provide anagrams in the same language, to generate additional answers.

This process provided nine one-word anagrams across the three languages. Though the sample size was small, it also tended to suggest that Wordmine had the most complete lexicon for English, Wiktionary had the best options for French, and Wordsmith had the largest word list for Spanish.

– ambonites (Eng.), minerals containing cordiderites (Wordmine)
– motesanib (Eng.), an experimental cancer drug, sometimes capitalized (Wordmine)
– binotâmes (Fr.), “[we] hoed” (Wiktionary)
– botanisme (Fr.), “gardening” (Wiktionary)
– embâtions (Fr.), “acts of striking with a bat” (Wordsmith, Wiktionary)
– emboisant (Fr.), “cajoling” (Wordmine, Wiktionary)
– entombais (Fr.), “[I or you (sing.)] was entombing” (Wordmine, Wiktionary)
– entibamos (Sp.), “we prop” or “we place [something] against” (Wordsmith)
– sambenito (Sp.), “sanbenito” – the garment heretics were forced to wear during the Spanish Inquisition (Wordsmith)

I then searched for French and Spanish one-word anagrams of other Latin phrases, all of which are more familiar to English speakers than absit omen. As a puzzle for the reader, what familiar Latin phrase can be anagrammed to form each of these foreign words? Ignore accent marks; answers can be found in the comments.

1. dites (Fr., “[you (plural)] say”)
2. nuisît (Fr., “[he/she] was harmful,” imperfect subjunctive)
3. déprimé (Fr., “depressed”)
4. aportar (Sp., “to contribute” or “to invest”)
5. marnées (Fr., “covered with marline,” feminine plural)
6. alegreto (Sp., “allegretto, of somewhat fast tempo”)
7. batonnée (Fr., “amount of water pumped by each movement of a piston”)
8. lainerait (Fr., “[he/she] teases,” conditional present)
9. vivacités (Fr., “vivacities” or “brilliances”)
10. contiens (Fr., “[I/you] contain”)
11. pastueños (Sp., “tango-like dances” or “easily tricked, as a bull in bullfighting”)
12. appréciât (Fr., “[he/she] appreciates,” subjunctive imperfect)
13. abaluartas (Sp., “[you] fortify with bastions”)
14. estimasteis (Sp., “[you (plural)] estimated”)

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