# The QWERTY-shortest word

For this puzzle, I define the distance between two letters as the shortest way on a QWERTY keyboard to go from a letter to another with a path.

Examples:

• Q and W are seperated by a distance of 1.
• 2 for E and T.
• 2 for I and N going through J.
• 9 for Z and P.

The average number of letters in the English langage for a word is approximately 4.7.

Can you find:

1. $$S$$: The shortest word in Merriam Webster such that its number of letters is greater than 4.7
2. $$L$$: The longest word in Merriam Webster such that its number of letters is lesser than 4.7

Score is $$L$$ minus $$S$$. Your aim is to get the highest score.

Example:

• Love, $$L=9$$
• Puzzle, $$S=23$$

Score is $$9-23 = -14$$

Here's a score of 24

L = 27 = PAPA
S = 3 = ASSES(S), WEEDS

I'm pretty sure this is optimal, because

You can't get better than PAPA. 9 is the maximum shortest distance between 2 keys, and PAPA has a 9-letter distance between every letter pair. It's theoretically possible to get lower than ASSES(S) or WEEDS, but in the word list I just checked it with, nothing comes up that would match. The word would have to be an obscure format like awwaa, both letters being neighbors on the keyboard.

• @JKHA So two consecutive same letters like "SS" are counted as 1, not 0? Oct 24, 2020 at 20:31
• Why would it be 4? A -> S is 1, S -> S is 0, S -> E is 1, E -> S is 1, 3 total Oct 24, 2020 at 20:32
• Oops, sorry, I was looking at my AZERTY keyboard, I'm French, forget about my comment, you have my +1 Lukas :)
– JKHA
Oct 24, 2020 at 20:33
• As this came up today, it made me think of see-er, which is either 2 or large, depending on the hyphen. May 27, 2021 at 22:57

A score of 41.

L = 44 = ʻaʻama - name for the Hawai'ian crab Graspus tenuicrustatus. Unfortunately, this isn't listed in Merriam Webster. But because other Hawai'ian words, such as ʻaʻā are included, I figured this would be acceptable. Also, the ʻokinas need to be substituted with apostrophes.
S = 3 = assess

Or a very abstract score of 140.

L = 143 = ʻAʻAMA - This time, it is typed in unicode.
SHIFT -> CTRL -> U -> 0 -> 2 -> 8 -> 8 -> SPACE -> SHIFT -> CTRL -> U -> 0 -> 0 -> 4 -> 1 -> SPACE -> SHIFT -> CTRL -> U -> 0 -> 2 -> 8 -> 8 -> SPACE -> SHIFT -> CTRL -> U -> 0 -> 0 -> 4 -> 1 -> SPACE -> SHIFT -> CTRL -> U -> 0 -> 0 -> 4 -> D -> SPACE -> SHIFT -> CTRL -> U -> 0 -> 0 -> 4 -> 1 -> SPACE
S = 3 = assess - Sadly, MW doesn't acknowledge the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre.

• Including the hawaiian words might be legit. Counting the okinas as apostrophes for distance on the keyboard while not counting them for letter count almost certainly isn't. May 27, 2021 at 19:26
• @BenBarden ʻOkinas are diacritics, the same as tildes and cedillas. If ñ and ç are one letter, then ʻa should be as well. Also, a smart apostrophe is nearly indistinguishable to the human eye ( ʻ vs ‘ ), and considering most QWERTY keyboards don't have an ʻokina key, I figured that it would be an acceptable substitute. May 28, 2021 at 4:07
• But you can't type ñ and ç on a QWERTY keybaord, so that isn't a valid argument for it being one letter. May 28, 2021 at 13:07
• @rhavelka How many letters is è or ö? Surely not more than one? What I was saying is that a diacritical mark shouldn’t add to a letter count, whether it’s a cedilla, umlaut, or an ‘okina. May 29, 2021 at 15:09
• @Nilster I guess I am saying that è and ö are not valid QWERTY letters. That would be like saying how many letters is は, ண, or и? It doesn't matter because you cannot type them within the constraints of the puzzle, so your argument of special characters is still invalid. From the way it is worded, I think OP was expecting every letter to also mean every key press, but I would rather have them chime in on what is valid. Jun 1, 2021 at 12:34