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I start with nothing. If you remove 1, 2 or 3 of my characters then my meaning does not change. What 5-letter word am I?

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    $\begingroup$ Closely related: A seven letter word - the meaning doesn't change if you remove letters (particularly my answer there) $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Jan 14 at 14:18
  • $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question under our "not fully defined" reason. There have been quite a number of answers which seem to fit the text of the question well, and none of them are the intended one. Therefore the puzzle is not well-defined enough to have a single, unarguable answer. $\endgroup$ – bobble Jan 14 at 16:03
  • $\begingroup$ I have updated the question and vote to reopen it. Once you see the answer you will be convinced that it is quite unambiguous and unarguable. $\endgroup$ – Dmitry Kamenetsky Jan 14 at 19:32
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    $\begingroup$ Please do not make edits that invalidates answers. $\endgroup$ – risky mysteries Jan 14 at 21:47
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    $\begingroup$ Sorry for invalidating previous answers. But this was the only way I could keep the question open. $\endgroup$ – Dmitry Kamenetsky Jan 14 at 22:00
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I propose:

EMPTY - it is nothing

Removing Y, it gives EMPT that sounds like EMPTY

Removing P, it gives EMT that sounds like EMPTY

Removing E, it gives MT that sounds like EMPTY

I guess if you removed all the characters, it'd also be EMPTY

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Note: This answer was submitted prior to it being specified as a five-letter word.

I think the answer might simply be

NONE

Reasoning

NONE
NON, as a prefix, meaning "the absence of".
NO
O (definition 4)

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    $\begingroup$ I was about to post rot13(abjg, abg, ab, b), which is somewhat similar, but yours is a bit better. $\endgroup$ – Jaap Scherphuis Jan 14 at 11:07
  • $\begingroup$ Great answer! It is not my intended answer, but it works well. $\endgroup$ – Dmitry Kamenetsky Jan 14 at 12:12
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    $\begingroup$ Note the recent edit made on the puzzle. You may want to give a disclaimer in your answer to avoid the risk of downvotes :) $\endgroup$ – risky mysteries Jan 14 at 21:53
  • $\begingroup$ @riskymysteries Thanks, have edited. $\endgroup$ – hexomino Jan 14 at 22:00
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Note: This answer was submitted prior to it being specified as a five-letter word.

As an extra answer:

NOT ONE -> NO ONE -> NONE -> NON
All potential meanings of nothing.

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice answer, but not what I was looking for. Note you have two words here. $\endgroup$ – Dmitry Kamenetsky Jan 14 at 7:15
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    $\begingroup$ agreed - I just thought it was too coincidental not to post :) $\endgroup$ – Graylocke Jan 14 at 7:17
  • $\begingroup$ Note the recent edit made on the puzzle. You may want to give a disclaimer in your answer to avoid the risk of downvotes :) $\endgroup$ – risky mysteries Jan 14 at 21:53
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Note: This answer was submitted prior to it being specified as a five-letter word.

0000

If you remove any number of characters it has the same meaning

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  • $\begingroup$ Ooh, this is a neat nugget! $\endgroup$ – Rewan Demontay Jan 14 at 14:47
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    $\begingroup$ But the question is tagged wordplay, not digit-play. $\endgroup$ – smci Jan 14 at 17:12
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    $\begingroup$ Note the recent edit made on the puzzle. You may want to give a disclaimer in your answer to avoid the risk of downvotes :) $\endgroup$ – risky mysteries Jan 14 at 21:54
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Note: This answer was submitted prior to it being specified as a five-letter word.

Could it be

Nothing?

Because

I start with nothing.

'Nothing' starts with nothing (as in prefix nothing)

If you remove 1, 2 or 3 of my characters then my meaning does not change.

I think it works in two ways. One could be actual characters (people). You are removing people from nothing, so it still is nothing.

But, on the other side of the coin, characters could mean letters of the word, so NOTHING with one letter taken away is NOTHIN', which sounds the same and really is the same word, 2 letters could be NOT'IN', and 3 letters could be NOT''N' (Thank you to Rand al'Thor).

Am I correct?

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice answer. Perhaps also rot13(Erzbir 3 pbhyq yrnir ABG V nf va "abg 1"?) :) $\endgroup$ – Graylocke Jan 14 at 3:33
  • $\begingroup$ Remoe3 could leave not I as in "not 1"? meaning (sorry don't know) $\endgroup$ – 102152111 Jan 14 at 3:39
  • $\begingroup$ There is not even one..? As in nothing? I was just adding another reason for your answer. $\endgroup$ – Graylocke Jan 14 at 4:39
  • $\begingroup$ Good answer, but not quite what I was looking for $\endgroup$ – Dmitry Kamenetsky Jan 14 at 7:14
  • $\begingroup$ Note the recent edit made on the puzzle. You may want to give a disclaimer in your answer to avoid the risk of downvotes :) $\endgroup$ – risky mysteries Jan 14 at 21:54
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No - No yes

Neo - Means new, get rid of old

Gone - It's gone, nothing left

Goner - Something gone, nothing

It almost fits all the requirements, I stretched a bit with neo, though.

Another one is

No - Nothing

Non - Nonfiction means no fiction, it is the nothing prefix

None - Nothing left

Noone - No people

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