This may be a bit weird, but I remember a type of riddle but I can't remember any of those riddles nor their name.

The riddle gives you 2 things and you need to find descriptions for both that are word reversal of each other.

I'll give some examples and a list of those riddles I wrote.

If anybody recognize the type and remember the name I'll be very thankful for your help.

If not, I'll also appreciate other riddles of the type.

All following riddles are original (up to subconscious mimickry) and I cannot vouch for their quality.


Q: How are masochists like a stomachache?

A: the first are gluttons for pain and the other, pain for gluttons

Q: How is a neglected debt like a seed?

A: one grows wood and the other would grow.

Q: How is the future like a clock?

A: One only tells time and the other only time will tell

The last one isn't a pure reversal at all. It's doesn't exactly follow the rules But I still think it's nice.

If anybody recognize this type of riddle I'll be very thankful.

Other riddles of the type: ("Lax" indicates the solution doesn't have pure reversal)

How is an affair like a witch?

How is a masochist like an abusive spouse?

How is greed like prostitution?

How is a foxhunt like a obnoxious person? (Sort of lax)

How is a prophet like the shore? (Lax)

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    $\begingroup$ I love these things! What's the difference between a student and a farmer? One's stocking his mind while the other is minding his stock $\endgroup$ – Cotton Headed Ninnymuggins Dec 29 '20 at 20:41
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    $\begingroup$ I don't think I've ever encountered a special name for these. I think of them as jokes more than as puzzles. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Dec 29 '20 at 21:14
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    $\begingroup$ The one I know best and perhaps heard/read earliest is "What's the difference between a jailer and a jeweler? / One watches cells, while the other sells watches". $\endgroup$ – msh210 Dec 29 '20 at 21:17
  • $\begingroup$ Here's a good one I know with some pun play in it Q: What's the difference between a sexy crab and a dirty terminal? A: One is a busty crustacean, while the other is a crusty bus station. $\endgroup$ – Rewan Demontay Dec 29 '20 at 23:20
  • $\begingroup$ Those are all very enjoyable. I understand from your reactions though that those play on words are never treated as riddles and that, if treated as riddles, are assumed to be unsolvable? (Or at least not uniquely solvable) $\endgroup$ – Caecus Dec 31 '20 at 6:11

As a figure of speech, this is called an antimetabole (or sometimes antimetalepsis).

One famous example which has become a meme is "In America, you can always find a party. In Soviet Russia, Party always finds you!"

As a riddle, despite an extensive search, I was not able to find a specific naming. I don't think there is any, at least not one that a group of people agrees upon. However, I stumbled upon Barbara Maier's study where she puts this form of humorous riddle into a category she names "Reversal Riddle".

I find this interesting and "Reversal Riddle" could be the category name we use here, should that kind of riddle become popular. Else, wordplay looks like the best match.


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