Wild About Math! Making Math fun and accessible

28Feb/0810

What do these words have in common?

Ok, so this is not Math-related but I did discover it in the book Fun With Mathematics. The book, by the way, which is out of print and only available used, is definitely worth a couple of bucks plus the shipping cost.

So, what do the following words have in common?

playgrounds
dumbwaiters
workmanship
republicans
sympathizer

Yes, they each have 11 letters but there's something else interesting about each of these words. Can you see what that is? Are there other words you can add to this list?

Comments (10) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Here from Italy I can contribute with “funamboleschi” (plural masculine of “acrobatic”), 13 letters. I could reach 14 with “buscherandogli”, but I must use a dialectal verb in gerundive form with a suffix added. You’ll agree that it’s a bit like cheating :-)

  2. OK, I definitely don’t have it. But here’s what I see.

    – all nouns
    – all contain “R” “S” and “A”
    – none contains “F” “J” “Q” “V” or “X”
    – no repeated letters

    I’ll need to sit back and watch for real answers.

  3. Well, you both got it. The words all have no repeating letters. It’d be interesting to take a long list of dictionary words and determine how many 11-letter words there are with no repeating letters. I bet the percentage is small.

    Any programmers out there up to the task? This would be a pretty simple program in perl or C or Java once you have the list. If someone is interested and doesn’t have a list of words I can look up the moby word list for you.

  4. I was right. That seemed too simple, though. I was here mapping out the letters’ places in the alphabet and trying to work out some value or percentage patterns… Silly me.

  5. Ok, I wrote a program that runs against a list of over 80,000 English words looking for words with no repeating letters. Here are a few interesting things:

    “ambidextrously” is the longest word, with 14 letters and none that repeat.

    At 13 letters each are these two words:
    “metalworkings”, and “unpredictably.”

    There were 28 words with 12 letters.

  6. abstemiously
    facetiously

    my list needs one more. I don’t know if it will go on your list, too, though.

    Jonathan

  7. oh well, typing before coffee, abstemiously is on mine, but not yours.

  8. Ran your request through my list of words and got 152 hits.
    abolishment =11
    adventurism =11
    ambidextrous =12
    ambidextrously =14
    atmospheric =11
    blameworthy =11
    bluestocking =12
    cabinetwork =11
    cavernously =11
    centrifugal =11
    Chelyabinsk =11
    Christendom =11
    clergywoman =11
    combatively =11
    comprisable =11
    comradeship =11
    configurable =12
    confirmable =11
    confirmedly =11
    conjugality =11
    conjugately =11
    conjugative =11
    considerably =12
    construable =11
    consumptive =11
    consumptively =13
    contrivedly =11
    copyrighted =11
    countervail =11
    countryfied =11
    countryside =11
    customarily =11
    dangerously =11
    demographic =11
    demographics =12
    demonstrably =12
    Deutschmark =11
    discountable =12
    disgraceful =11
    dismountable =12
    disprovable =11
    disreputably =12
    disturbance =11
    documentary =11
    doublethink =11
    Downpatrick =11
    earthmoving =11
    elucidatory =11
    endoplasmic =11
    exculpation =11
    exculpatory =11
    explicatory =11
    expurgation =11
    facetiously =11
    filamentous =11
    filmography =11
    fractiously =11
    fulminatory =11
    genotypical =11
    geophysical =11
    gourmandise =11
    grandiosely =11
    hectoringly =11
    housewarming =12
    Humperdinck =11
    hyperbolism =11
    hypnotizable =12
    imponderably =12
    importunely =11
    impoundable =11
    impregnably =11
    imprudently =11
    inculpatory =11
    inexcusably =11
    inscrutable =11
    inscrutably =11
    insuperably =11
    keyboardist =11
    lexicography =12
    Lutheranism =11
    maledictory =11
    malnourished =12
    McCarthyism =11
    mendaciously =12
    metalworking =12
    misanthrope =11
    misanthropy =11
    motherfucking =13
    nefariously =11
    nightwalker =11
    normatively =11
    observantly =11
    obtrusively =11
    overhastily =11
    overmagnify =11
    pachydermous =12
    packinghouse =12
    personality =11
    phylogenist =11
    policymaker =11
    predictably =11
    proactively =11
    problematic =11
    productively =12
    prognathism =11
    providently =11
    proximately =11
    quaveringly =11
    questionably =12
    recognizably =12
    righteously =11
    scenography =11
    searchingly =11
    secondarily =11
    southwardly =11
    spaceflight =11
    speculation =11
    sphincteral =11
    stenographic =12
    stenography =11
    subcategory =11
    subnormality =12
    subordinate =11
    subordinately =13
    subtropical =11
    sulfonamide =11
    switchblade =11
    switchboard =11
    Switzerland =11
    sympathizer =11
    tenaciously =11
    thunderclap =11
    tragicomedy =11
    tribeswoman =11
    troublemaking =13
    undesirably =11
    unforgivable =12
    unmethodical =12
    unpractised =11
    unpredictably =13
    unproclaimed =12
    unprofitable =12
    unprofitably =12
    unseaworthy =11
    unshockable =11
    untouchable =11
    valedictory =11
    ventriloquy =11
    veraciously =11
    vexatiously =11
    voluntarism =11
    workmanship =11

  9. As a contrived word there is, uncopyrightable (14).

  10. Hello, I just wanted to drop a quick note to say I like your blog a lot. It seems like you post about fun stuff…more than I can say for many of the boring blogs I see out there! Dug this post a lot, take care.


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