I hadn't realized that Chesterton had it from Dickens, thanks Wordnik!
I will venture to guess that sionnach has never been a proofreader of letterpress typesetting; those who have been can quite easily read letters as well as words in any direction; it's part of the "new angle" charm.
Weird Words: Mooreeffoc ------------------------------ ------------------------------------- Relating to things suddenly seen in a new and different way.
Though this word is rare to the point of never being used in its ostensible sense, but only as a keyword to initiate discussion, it has been keeping illustrious company, since its few appearances in print have been in works by G K Chesterton, J R R Tolkien and Charles Dickens.
Dickens invented it, if that's the right word. He mentions it in his autobiography, when he describes his poverty-stricken youth:
In the door there was an oval glass plate, with COFFEE-ROOM painted on it, addressed towards the street. If I ever find myself in a very different kind of coffee-room now, but where there is such an inscription on glass, and read it backward on the wrong side MOOR-EEFFOC (as I often used to do then, in a dismal reverie,) a shock goes through my blood.
From Michael Quinion's World Wide Words weekly newsletter.
a Chestertonian fantasy (coffeeroom seen in reverse)
"Mooreeffoc is a fantastic word, but it could be seen written up in every town in this land. It is Coffee-room, viewed from the inside through a glass door, as it was seen by Dickens on a dark London day; and it was used by Chesterton to denote the queerness of things that have become trite, when they are seen suddenly from a new angle."
I have no doubt that Chesterton coined this word, and I appreciate the idea. But the explanation that this is what one would see from the other side of the glass door seems demonstrably untrue. Just write'coffeeroom' on a piece of paper, turn it over and hold it up to the light. There is no angle from which you would see 'mooreeffoc'.
Or am I missing something? (I have the kind of personality that finds this kind of inaccuracy profoundly irritating, God help me)