5
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$\vphantom{why are you reading this?}$

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4
  • $\begingroup$ I can add something to the body if it's necessary, but the question is entirely contained in the title. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Mar 31, 2016 at 4:39
  • $\begingroup$ The -er and -est forms of the word all three should have different meanings? $\endgroup$
    – Arcane
    Mar 31, 2016 at 4:53
  • $\begingroup$ @Arcane: Yes. None of them should be related. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Mar 31, 2016 at 4:53
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Ever, Everer, Everest $\endgroup$
    – Narmer
    Mar 31, 2016 at 8:15

5 Answers 5

6
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How about

TEMP, TEMPER, TEMPEST

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2
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think temp counts as a word, maybe an abbreviation. $\endgroup$
    – Tony Ruth
    Mar 31, 2016 at 14:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Tony: A "temp" is a temporary office worker. It's derived from an abbrevation, but is now used regularly without a period indicating abbreviation. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Mar 31, 2016 at 21:17
5
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You could also consider

RASH (a skin lesion)
RASHER (thin slice of bacon)
RASHEST (most reckless)

Yes, all three could mean different degrees of the last definition, but we do have words that can mean something totally different.

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6
  • $\begingroup$ They can, but they don't always. In the accepted answer, none of them have related meanings at all. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Mar 31, 2016 at 5:16
  • $\begingroup$ SPOILER @Deusovi -- no, all three words in your accepted solution derived from the Latin tempus ‎(“time, season”). If you add the word "bad" in front of the last two, it becomes more obvious. $\endgroup$ Apr 1, 2016 at 2:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Malvolio: They mean completely different things though: an employee, a capability to withstand anger, and a storm. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Apr 1, 2016 at 2:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Deusovi -- they mean an employee who is there a short time, how you feel during a particular time, and the weather during a particular time. Or those were their original meanings, they have drifted a fair amount. $\endgroup$ Apr 1, 2016 at 9:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Malvolio: You've just added "during a particular time" to two of the definitions. While they were originally from a root meaning 'time', that was centuries (millennia?) ago. I have no qualms considering them different. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Apr 1, 2016 at 11:38
2
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Rath : (in Ireland) a strong circular earthen wall forming an enclosure and serving as a fort and residence for a tribal chief.

Rather : used to indicate one's preference in a particular matter.

Rathest : earliest. (obsolete usage)

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2
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CONF, CONFER, CONFEST

All three are in SOWPODS, even though the first is only listed as an abbreviation in every dictionary I've found. (The same can be said of the accepted answer). The -EST form is an archaic verb form equivalent to -ESSED.


Other answers which don't quite meet the criteria but are interesting nonetheless are:

  • ARCH / ARCHER / ARCHEST (if the first and second are read as nouns then it works, but they could also be adjectives related to the third)
  • EARN / EARNER / EARNEST (the third is definitely unrelated, but the second is clearly derived from the first)
  • CANT / CANTER / CANTEST (the third is in SOWPODS but I can't find a definition, unless it comes from an adjectival form of CANT)
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1
  • $\begingroup$ +1, but "TEMP" isn't really an abbrevation - it started out that way, but is now frequently used as its own word meaning "temporary office worker"; no period at the end signalling an abbreviated word. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Mar 31, 2016 at 21:18
1
$\begingroup$

How about...

HON (A term of endearment), HONER (A whetstone for sharpening blades), HONEST

Or...

DIV, DIVER, DIVEST

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3
  • $\begingroup$ The title says four letters. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Mar 31, 2016 at 21:15
  • $\begingroup$ Damn, i was going for 2 letters next :-/ $\endgroup$ Mar 31, 2016 at 21:17
  • $\begingroup$ There are a few one-letter options too: P is probably the best, followed by F. $\endgroup$ Apr 1, 2016 at 12:56

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