Is “Denifer” still refined?

Denifer Apartments ad from 1921

Did you know that there’s a building in Chicago called the Denifer — “refined” spelled backwards? When it first opened in 1921, the name was mocked by several publications. The Chicago Tribune said:

“[T]he owners of the hotel to be built at the northwest corner of Kenmore and Balmoral avenues…arrived at the conclusion that the new hostelry certainly would be refined. […] The rest of the christening was easy. The ‘d’ is made a capital; the other letters are run in backwards and–behold! We have the Hotel Denifer!”

Hotel Monthly, jumping on the bandwagon a month later, asked:

Is the word Denifer, as a reverse in the spelling of refined, a consistent name? Does it not suggest the opposite of refined?

Interesting questions in this age of Nevaeh

Do you think that flipping the spelling of a word flips the definition of that word as well?

(And, do you think that the Jennifer-like “Denifer” could potentially catch on as a baby name?)


Image: Denifer Condominiums

One thought on “Is “Denifer” still refined?

  1. Without context I would assume somebody named it for their kids, Dennis and Jennifer. Definitely doesn’t read as refined to me, and I wouldn’t see it as a baby name outside a culture where name smushes like that were common.

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