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This is in the spirit of the What is a Word/Phrase™ series started by JLee with a special brand of Phrase™ and Word™ puzzles.

If a word conforms to a special rule, I call it a Structurally Sound Word™.

Use the following examples below to find the rule.

Structurally Sound Words™ Not Structurally Sound Words™
DENIED ALLOWED
DETERMINED UNDETERMINED
FEEBLEMINDED STRONG-WILLED
FREETHINKER FOLLOWER
IDENTIFIED UNKNOWN
INFIELDER PITCHER
INFINITE BOUNDED
MILLIMETER CENTIMETER
PRETEEN TEENAGER
REMEMBERED FORGOTTEN
REPENT RELAPSE
RETIREMENT CAREER
THIRTEENTH FOURTEENTH
LIMITED EXTRA

And, if you want to analyze, here is a CSV version:

Structurally Sound Words™,Not Structurally Sound Words™
DENIED,ALLOWED
DETERMINED,UNDETERMINED
FEEBLEMINDED,STRONG-WILLED
FREETHINKER,FOLLOWER
IDENTIFIED,UNKNOWN
INFIELDER,PITCHER
INFINITE,BOUNDED
MILLIMETER,CENTIMETER
PRETEEN,TEENAGER
REMEMBERED,FORGOTTEN
REPENT,RELAPSE
RETIREMENT,CAREER
THIRTEENTH,FOURTEENTH
LIMITED,EXTRA
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3 Answers 3

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A structurally sound word is one such that

each letter has a full-height vertical component that could be "load-bearing" -- like a stud -- were it a physical thing. Letters that are full height but without a full vertical component, such as 'A', 'C', and 'X' are structurally 'unsound' since they don't have a "load-bearing" component that runs from top to bottom.
Structurally sound letters: BDEFHIKLMNPRT
Structurally unsound letters: ACGJOQSUVWXYZ

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5
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Is a structurally sound word a word that

only contains letters with a component that goes the entire height of the letter? e.g. 'BDEFHIKLMNPRT'

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The unsound EXTRA seems to be sound by this definition. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 20:23
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It seems to me that a structurally sound word is one that

Contains letters that do not have rounded, unstable "bottoms," that is, the strokes near the bottom of each letter are either flat or are standing on legs. The Not Structurally Sound words contain letters that are rounded and would easily roll over if they were real structures.

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ this was my initial guess, but due to the Independent/Interdependent I'm not sure this would work? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 19:26
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ That's a pretty good guess and definitely valid given the examples provided. D has some definite flatness at the bottom. Quite frankly, I think I like your answer better than the intended answer. I've added another example that'll negate this answer but I gave you +1. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 20:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Cat'r'pillar That one was supposed to be removed because they're actually both valid. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 20:09
  • $\begingroup$ What about EXTRA? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 20:14
  • $\begingroup$ I thought this too, but couldn't explain 1. The independent/interdependent case or 2. Why 'A' only appears in not structurally sound words, since it has no round bottom. It must be something else; note that structurally sound words only use the vowels i and e where the opposite can use all 5 vowels. (coincidence that a, o, and u all appear in 'Structurally sound words' and i,e don't?) $\endgroup$
    – NeedAName
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 20:16

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