12
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Thanks to JoeZ, pacoverflow, isaacg, Sp3000, Novarg, Ram, h34, and all those who contributed answers that have since been beaten. I've accepted JoeZ's answer since he has the most mentions on the list below, but this puzzle isn't 'closed': if you can beat any of the words on the list below, post an answer and your name will be mentioned!


The challenge

For each letter of the alphabet, A to Z, find a word containing the highest possible proportion of that letter If people come up with more than one word with the same proportion, the longest one wins.

Examples:

  • taking the letter A, the best I can think of is "taramasalata" (6/12), which trumps "banana" (3/6) because it's longer; "banana" in turn trumps "razzmatazz" (3/10), although the latter word might be a good candidate for the letter Z
  • taking the letter B, "blubber" (3/7) is an easy starting point which can probably be outdone.

Rules:

  • only words of at least 5 letters
  • no proper nouns (i.e. place or person names)
  • only English dictionary words
  • exclude words like "aaaaaah" and "hmmmmmm" which could in theory be extended as far as you like to get arbitrarily many A's or M's

Hopefully this covers all the loopholes, so that nobody will come up with 'silly' examples that need more rules to avoid!

This is an puzzle, which means the current best answer may be outdone at any time. Partial answers (not covering all 26 letters) are fine; you can make them cover all 26 just by copying from the "current best" which I'll keep updated below.


Current best

A: agama (3/5) [credit: Sp3000]
B: bobby (3/5) [credit: pacoverflow]
C: coccic (4/6) [credit: isaacg]
D: dodded (4/6) [credit: isaacg]
E: peewee (4/6) [credit: Joe Z]
F: feoff / fluff (3/5) [credit: Sp3000 / isaacg]
G: glogg (3/5) [credit: Joe Z]
H: hashish (3/7) [credit: isaacg]
I: iiwis (3/5) [credit: h34]
J: hajji (2/5) [credit: Sp3000]
K: kakkak (4/6) [credit: isaacg]
L: lulls / lolls / lolly (3/5) [credit: Joe Z / isaacg / Novarg]
M: mommy / mamma / mummy (3/5) [credit: pacoverflow / isaacg / Novarg]
N: nanny (3/5) [credit: pacoverflow]
O: voodoo / booboo (4/6) [credit: Joe Z / Sp3000]
P: peppy / puppy / pappy / poppy (3/5) [credit: pacoverflow / Novarg / Sp3000 / Joe Z]$^1$
Q: quinque (2/7) [credit: Ram]
R: rarer / error (3/5) [credit: pacoverflow / isaacg]
S: assess / sasses (4/6) [credit: Joe Z / pacoverflow]
T: tatty (3/5) [credit: Sp3000]
U: muumuu (4/6) [credit: Joe Z]
V: vivid / divvy / valve / civvy (2/5) [credit: pacoverflow / isaacg / Novarg / Sp3000]
W: powwow (3/6) [credit: Joe Z]
X: xerox (2/5) [credit: Joe Z]
Y: syzygy (3/6) [credit: Joe Z]
Z: pzazz (3/5)

At the moment I'm listing ties, but please don't go too much over the top with new words that match old ones - if there get to be too many equal winners for each letter, I'll have to remove all but the first one.

$^1$ Nobody mention "pippy"! :-)

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Couldn't you just run a dictionary search? $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. Mar 19 '15 at 1:32
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @JoeZ. I'm hoping this will be an interesting challenge rather than just a "who's got the biggest dictionary"-type thing! $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Mar 19 '15 at 1:39
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ For what it's worth, I'm not computer-searching through a dictionary while coming up with the words in my list. $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. Mar 19 '15 at 1:40
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ iiwis beats bikini, and qaimaqam beats equivoque and quinquina. $\endgroup$ – h34 Mar 19 '15 at 16:54
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @user9214072 Yes, but "katana" (3/6) has already been beaten by "agama" (3/5). $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Jan 23 '18 at 17:42

18 Answers 18

8
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My contributions to this list:

B: hubbub (3/6)
C: coccyx (3/6)
E: peewee (4/6)
G: glogg (3/5)
I: radii (2/5)
J: jejune (2/6)
L: lulls (3/5)
O: voodoo (4/6)
P: poppy (3/5)
Q: equivoque (2/9, had to google for this one)
S: assess (4/6)
U: muumuu (4/6)
V: vulva (2/5)
W: powwow (3/6)
X: xerox (2/5, if we're counting genericized trademarks)
Y: syzygy (3/6)
Z: pizzazz (4/7)

Also some sketchy and dubious contenders:

E: teevee (4/6, a transcribed phonetic spelling of TV [OED])
O: hoooo (4/5, a Japanese loan word for phoenix, also spelled houou)
T: tut-tut (4/6, a hyphenated interjection expressing disapproval [OED])
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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You might have a better time asking for the highest letter ratio, not counting words that are just a single letter repeated. $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. Mar 19 '15 at 1:36
  • $\begingroup$ Highest ratio was actually my original idea, but then I thought ... most of the highest-ratio words will actually be really short ones like "bib" or "too", which makes it not so interesting. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Mar 19 '15 at 1:43
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ True. Maybe highest ratio with at least five letters? $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. Mar 19 '15 at 1:45
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ That's a good idea, but why five rather than four or six? Maybe I'll do that ... do you think it's OK to edit the question? Only 7 views ... probably nobody will notice if I edit! $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Mar 19 '15 at 1:47
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, at this point only I've answered, and I'm okay with the question change. $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. Mar 19 '15 at 1:49
6
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A: alpaca (3/6)
B: bobby (3/5)
C: cocky (2/5)
D: added (3/5)
F: fifty (2/5)
G: gagged (3/6)
I: idiom (2/5)
K: kicks (2/5)
M: mommy (3/5)
N: nanny (3/5)
P: peppy (3/5)
R: rarer (3/5)
S: sasses (4/6)
T: tattle (3/6)
V: vivid (2/5)
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  • $\begingroup$ "alpaca" is already beat out by taramasalata, though. $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. Mar 19 '15 at 4:30
4
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I: isidioid or kivikivi (4/8).

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thanks and +1, but h34 has now beaten 4/8 with "iiwis"! $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Mar 19 '15 at 20:57
4
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My attempt

Q - quinque is 2/7 (five/having five)

Sorry I completely forgot these don't qualify due to five word minimum

V - vav is 2/1 (I guess it may not qualify as its a letter of the Hebrew alphabet)
V - viva/vive is 2/4 (long live)
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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Thanks! I've used up my vote limit for the day, but will upvote after midnight :-) $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Mar 19 '15 at 23:28
  • $\begingroup$ Is quinque really a word? The dictionaries I’ve checked (the OED and Merriam-Webster) do list it, but only as a combining form (i.e. as a prefix in words like quinquefoliate, “having five leaves”) not as a standalone word. $\endgroup$ – Peter LeFanu Lumsdaine May 11 '16 at 21:39
3
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Based on current best I made this list:

A: agama (3/5)
B: baobab (3/6)
C: cancer (2/6)
D: daddy (3/5)
E:
F: fluff (3/5)
G: gagging (4/7)
H: height (2/6)
I: bikini (3/6)
J:
K: kukri (2/5)
L: lolly (3/5)
M: mummy (3/5)
N: cannon (3/6)
O:
P: puppy (3/5)
Q: queue (1/5)
R: horror (3/6)
S: possess (4/7)
T: twitter (3/7)
U:
V: valve (2/5)
W:
X:
Y:
Z:

Couldn't think about any words that can beat E, J, O, U, W, X, Y, Z. Other words are better that current best(at least for now)

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3
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Some more contributions:

A: agama  (3/5)
C: cocci  (3/5)
F: feoff  (3/5)
J: hajji  (2/5)
T: tatty  (3/5)

Everything else I got tied with Joe and pac's answers.

One for x that's not a trademark (although xerox is pretty common):

X: maxixe (2/6)

Edit: Since we seem to be doing ties, here are the tied answers I got which were different:

O: booboo    (4/6)
P: pappy     (3/5)
Q: quinquina (2/9)
V: civvy     (2/5)

Deemed invalid:

H: highth (3/6)
I: filii  (3/5)
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  • $\begingroup$ People above thought maybe "highth" should be excluded as obsolete. Also "filii" is a bit dodgy because it's Latin! $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Mar 19 '15 at 11:05
  • $\begingroup$ Is "lilly" a dictionary word? I can't seem to find it... $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Mar 19 '15 at 13:00
  • $\begingroup$ @randal'thor Oops sorry. My dictionary has proper nouns in it and I've been checking each one, but I thought lilly was the flower and neglected to do so for that one. $\endgroup$ – Sp3000 Mar 19 '15 at 13:03
3
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Current best list, as far as I know:

a: agama, 3/5
b: bobby, 3/5
c: coccic, 4/6
d: dodded, 4/6
e: peewee, 4/6
f: fluff, 3/5
g: glogg, 3/5
h: hashish, 3/7
i: bikini, 3/6
j: hajji, 2/5
k: kakkak, 4/6
l: lolls, 3/5
m: mamma, 3/5
n: nanny, 3/5
o: voodoo, 4/6
p: peppy, 3/5
q: equivoque, 2/9
r: error, 3/5
s: assess, 4/6
t: tatty, 3/5
u: muumuu, 4/6
v: divvy, 2/5
w: powwow, 3/6
x: xerox, 2/5
y: syzygy, 3/6
z: pzazz, 3/5

Recent updates:

  • Added pzazz, which is arguably valid.
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  • $\begingroup$ "highth" is a word? I always assumed it was "heigth" and just a misspelling of "height". $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. Mar 19 '15 at 5:29
  • $\begingroup$ Wikipedia says it's obsolete - I'll remove it. $\endgroup$ – isaacg Mar 19 '15 at 5:30
  • $\begingroup$ Equivoque is 2/9, not 1/5. $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. Mar 19 '15 at 5:30
  • $\begingroup$ Also powwow is 3/6. $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. Mar 19 '15 at 5:32
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @h34 If Pokémon names were allowed, we could get 4/5 for "Eevee". $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. Mar 19 '15 at 17:24
3
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Just for reference, since I mentioned this in comments but haven't seen it in anyone else's answer:

Z: pzazz (3/5)

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3
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For s, obsessivenesses would work if you allow plurals. If not, then obsessiveness is still good!

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Puzzling! "Assess" was already posted, and it has 4/6 letters "s" - "obsessivenesses" has 6/15, which is much smaller. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Mar 16 '17 at 15:01
3
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My contributions (many duplicates and ties with others--alas no new champions):

a:  Kabaa (3/5)
b:  bobby (3/5)
c:  cocci (3/5)
d:  added (3/5)
e:  peewee (2/3)
f:  faffs (3/5)
g:  gagging (4/7)
h:  hashish (4/7)
i:  bikini (1/2)
j:  hajji (2/5)
k:  Akkad (2/5)
l:  lolls (3/5)
m:  mammy (3/5)
n:  nanny (3/5)
o:  boohoo (2/3)
p:  pappy (3/5)
q:  aquas (1/5)
r:  error (3/5)
s:  assess (2/3)
t:  tatty (3/5)
u:  muumuu (2/3)
v:  bevvy (2/5)
w:  bowwow (1/2)
x:  Exxon (2/5)
y:  byway (2/5)
z:  pzazz (3/5)

In Mathematica:

alllongwords = Select[DictionaryLookup[___], StringLength[#] > 4 &];
letterratiolists = 
  Table[((StringCount[#, CharacterRange["a", "z"][[qq]]]/
        StringLength[#]) & /@ alllongwords), {qq, 1, 26}];
Table[alllongwords[[Position[letterratiolists[[qq]], 
     Max[letterratiolists[[qq]]]][[1, 1]]]], {qq, 1, 26}]

Here are the results in Spanish:

{"abada", "baobab", "cicca", "dedada", "berebere", "afufa", "galga", 
"huchohó", "dividivi", "ajajá", "kappa", "alcall", "súmmum", 
"nengún", "ojoso", "cappa", "quique", "errar", "esposas", "tatetí", 
"chucuru", "valva", "aarónica", "coxcox", "yarey", "cazuz"}

and French:

{"agaça", "baobab", "accroc", "dadas", "exerce", "fieffé", "gigogne",
"chahs", "infini", "joujou", "kakis", "libellule", "summum", "nanan",
"rococo", "appas", "qqu'un", "errer", "assis", "attentat", "cumulus",
"aviva", "clown", "anxieux", "youyou", "lazzi"}

and Italian:

{"agata", "babbi", "cacca", "addendi", "aeree", "baffi", "aggeggi",
"chicche", "finii", "abate", "quark", "lilla", "mamma", "nonna",
"odono", "pappa", "qualunque", "correr", "sassi", "tatti", "usufruì",
"evviva", "Newton", "Morgex", "Cluny", "zazzera"}
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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Can you please tell us which records you've beaten? $\endgroup$ – boboquack Mar 17 '17 at 0:59
3
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for the word with the highest h ratio you could do HIGHTH 3/6

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2
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Does secessionists (5/13) qualify?

Edit

I know this won't qualify to win, but I found one with five s with a better ratio

assessments (5/11)
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  • $\begingroup$ Yes, but it's already outdone by "assess" and "sasses". $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Mar 19 '15 at 20:52
  • $\begingroup$ So you are validating through the ratio not the number of repeating letters? $\endgroup$ – A.D. Mar 20 '15 at 12:11
  • $\begingroup$ That's right. From the OP: "find a word containing the highest possible proportion of that letter". $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Mar 20 '15 at 20:56
1
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J: juju (2/4)

... and it's not long enough to beat the filter.

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Puzzling Stack Exchange! Would it be possible for you to edit this answer to explain how you reached this conclusion given the information in the question? $\endgroup$ – Aza Mar 19 '15 at 7:33
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Remember, there's a 5 letter minimum. $\endgroup$ – isaacg Mar 19 '15 at 8:45
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Emrakul It's not really a "conclusion" so much as an example - the problem is that it's not an example because it's too short! $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Mar 19 '15 at 10:30
  • $\begingroup$ argh. good work. get all excited to post something and miss one of the fundamental rules :( $\endgroup$ – pala_ Mar 19 '15 at 23:28
0
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Not a real answer but, any pokemon fans ? :)

Eevee ( 4 / 5 )  

And also:

Atacama ( 4 / 7 ) 'a desert in Chile'
Scissors ( 4 / 8 )
Milli-millillion ( 6 / 15 )
riffaff ( 4 / 7 )
protozoology ( 5 / 12 )
stresslessness ( 7 / 14 )
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0
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a: abaca, 3/5
b: bibbs, 3/5
e: beebee, 4/6
j: jujus, 2/5
l: allyl, 3/5
o: coocoo, 4/6
p: pappi, 3/5
s: sisses, 4/6

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-1
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My contributions:

a - maharaja (4/8)
b -
c -
d -
e - eyelevel (4/8)
f - riffraff (4/8)
g - giggling (4/8)
h -
i - indivisibilities (7/16)
j - juju (2/4)
k - kabaka (3/6)
l -
m - **muumuu was already done. :/**
n -
o -
p -
q -
r - extraterrestrial (4/16)
s -
t - extraterrestrial (3/16)
u -
v -
w -
x -
y -
z -
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  • $\begingroup$ None of these beat the current ratios except juju, which is invalid according to the rules. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi May 11 '16 at 21:54
  • $\begingroup$ @Deusovi Sorry. Forgot about the 5-letter rule. And I don't care if they don't beat. $\endgroup$ – haykam May 11 '16 at 21:54
-1
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I know this is an invalid word according to the rules, but...

BRRR (3/4)

is valid in a standard game of scrabble (SOWPODS) and it would be interesting to see if there is a word that could beat that ratio!

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Well, any letter is its own word, giving the ratio 1/1. $\endgroup$ – boboquack Sep 9 '17 at 23:13
-2
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This word has 8 of the same letter Woolloomooloo

The ratio is 8/13

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  • $\begingroup$ That's not what the question is about - it's about the ratio of the repeating letter (in this case O) to the whole word (which is less than voodoo in any case). Anyway, Woollomooloo is a place name. $\endgroup$ – boboquack May 3 '17 at 3:32

protected by Community Sep 10 '17 at 19:53

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