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This puzzle is based off and inspired by the What is a Word™ and What is a Phrase™ series started by JLee and their spin-off What is a Number™ series.


Main puzzle:

If a word conforms to a special rule, I call it a mediocre word. Here is a list of examples:

Mediocre Words™ Non-Mediocre Words™
LACE FRILL
NIT LOUSE
PI PHI
MODE SCALE
AMELIO FRANCISCO
I YOU
CAST CREW
GENE EXON
TEMPE TUCSON
PRO-LIFE PRO-CHOICE
KA AKH

In CSV format:

Mediocre Words™,Non-Mediocre Words™
LACE,FRILL
PI,PHI
AMELIO,FRANCISCO
NIT,LOUSE
I,YOU
MODE,SCALE
CAST,CREW
GENE,EXON
TEMPE,TUCSON
PRO-LIFE,PRO-CHOICE
KA,AKH

What is the rule to tell whether a word is a Mediocre Word™ or not? Why is it called a Mediocre Word™?

(Note that each word can be tested for whether it is a Mediocre Word™ on its own, without looking at any of the other words in the list of examples.)

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A Mediocre Word is

a word that forms another word when the letters RATE are appended to the end.

For example:

LACERATE, NITRATE, PIRATE, MODERATE, AMELIORATE, IRATE, CASTRATE, GENERATE, TEMPERATE, PROLIFERATE, and KARATE are all valid English words.
FRILLRATE, LOUSERATE, etc. are not English words.

The connection with the title is:

mediocre could be a synonym for "second-rate", and each of the Mediocre Words has "rate" as the second part of the word.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yes! Now why is it called a Mediocre Word? $\endgroup$ – praosylen May 4 at 17:14
  • $\begingroup$ Is it because of “moderate”? $\endgroup$ – SeptaCube May 4 at 18:12
  • $\begingroup$ @SeptaCube spoilers and no $\endgroup$ – praosylen May 4 at 18:53
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I think the link with the title you're currently missing is rot13('frpbaq engr' nf 'engr' pna or hfrq nf gur 'frpbaq' unys bs rnpu jbeq, naq 'frpbaq engr' zrnaf 'zrqvbper') $\endgroup$ – Stiv 2 days ago
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ But how would you even figure this out? $\endgroup$ – TKoL 2 days ago

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