I want to start the creation of educational rebuses for kids, the subjects are math, physics and languages. I have never done it before and would like learn how to create rebuses in general and for a certain subject in particular. I guess there is some kind of guidlines or theory might exist. Is it?

  • $\begingroup$ Should this question be in meta instead? $\endgroup$ Oct 24, 2019 at 4:08
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @DmitryKamenetsky The question about puzzles are perfectly fine here. The Meta is a place to discuss the Puzzling SE site instead. :) $\endgroup$
    – athin
    Oct 24, 2019 at 4:20
  • $\begingroup$ Do you have a list of concepts to 'rebusize' in mind? $\endgroup$
    – JMP
    Oct 24, 2019 at 6:05

1 Answer 1


There are a lot of ways to make words from other words. PART is TRAP backwards. PLAIN is PLAN with an additional letter inserted in the middle. BARRING is BAR plus RING. MONDAY is DYNAMO with the letters rearranged. Many rebuses require the solver to first recognize the words in the picture, and then manipulate those words in some way to produce the answer.

There are some commonly used visual tricks to hint at the required wordplay. For example, showing a half of a picture of a coin might clue CO (or IN, depending on which half is shown). A picture of a dam placed upside down could be MAD. A picture of an arm placed inside a picture of Cher could be CHARMER. The important thing is that the placement of the image parts reflects the placement of the word parts in the eventual answer.

It's also useful to know some common abbreviations for individual letters or short sequences. This could be chemical element symbols (a picture of gold for AU), letter from the NATO alphabet (a picture of an Oscar statue for O) or from other alphabets (a Cyrillic Ё for YO), mathematical constants (2.718 for E), Roman numerals (4 for IV), SI prefixes ($10^{−9}$ for N or NANO), etc.

And of course a great way to learn the common tricks is to solve a bunch of rebuses yourself. If only there was a site somewhere with over 500 examples...


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