A sequence S is called anagram-free if it contains no consecutive symbols r
2. . .rkr
k+1. . .r
such that r
k+1. . .r
is a permutation of the block r
2. . .rk
. Answering a question of Erdős and Brown, Keränen constructed an infinite anagram-free sequence on four symbols. Motivated by the work of Alon, Grytczuk, Hałuszczak and Riordan , we consider a natural generalization of anagram-free sequences for graph colourings. A colouring of the vertices of a given graph G is called anagram-free if the sequence of colours on any path in G is anagram-free. We call the minimal number of colours needed for such a colouring the anagram-chromatic number of G.
In this paper we study the anagram-chromatic number of several classes of graphs like trees, minor-free graphs and bounded-degree graphs. Surprisingly, we show that there are bounded-degree graphs (such as random regular graphs) in which anagrams cannot be avoided unless we essentially give each vertex a separate colour.