My friend Arie has a toy called a "Language Genie". If you give it a word in English, it will pick four different languages and find the translation of the English word in each language. Then it makes an anagram out of each of the answers and returns them to you.

Each anagram is returned in the alphabet of the resultant language so if, for example, one of the four languages was Greek, you would be returned an anagram in the Greek alphabet.

One day, Arie gives the Language Genie a word and the Genie responds with the following four answers


What was the original word?

What is the translation of the word into each of the languages?

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Wow, what a devious puzzle, I like it! $\endgroup$
    – jhabbott
    May 20, 2016 at 11:22
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ This is really good, and essentially exactly the kind of thing I had in mind when I came up with the challenge idea. Nice work! $\endgroup$ May 20, 2016 at 12:04

1 Answer 1


The original word was:


The individual translations are:

Arbor: Borra (Maltese)
Seasign: Sniegas (Lithuanian)
Ark: Kar (Turkish)
Heatscan: Sneachta (Irish Gaelic)

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The Ark probably did it? Shortest and easiest to find? :D $\endgroup$
    – Decypher
    May 20, 2016 at 11:29
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ And the one I misspelt in my answer. :( Fixed now. Yes, I used Ark, which is easy to anagram, as entry point. But I also got a bit lucky that my first shot was a hit. $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    May 20, 2016 at 11:31
  • $\begingroup$ Well done! I'm impressed how quickly you got it. $\endgroup$
    – hexomino
    May 20, 2016 at 12:50
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    $\begingroup$ As to the inclusion of 'ark', I had debated in my head whether it would make it too easy and decided that there are enough words like 'rak', 'kar' and 'kra' in other languages that it could still be fairly ambiguous. In hindsight, maybe I should have gone in a different direction, but 'live and learn' as they say. $\endgroup$
    – hexomino
    May 20, 2016 at 12:54
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    $\begingroup$ That led to the Turkish word for snow. I went to the Wkipedia page and when I saw "Sneachta" as one of the links to articles in other languages, I knew that I was on the right track. "Borra" was the last word I found. I think a bit of luck was involved. There's a fine line between a puzzle that's solvable and one that's impossible, so providing an entry point with few letters was good. I wouldn't have gotten it if I hadn't seen the images of snow on Google. $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    May 20, 2016 at 13:26

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