If we define the "subtraction score" to be the amount of times you can subtract the last letter of a word and have the result also be a word, what is the highest possible subtraction score for an english word? Proper nouns do not count.

Pluralising something is a good way to get an extra free point

Some examples:

Inks -> Ink -> In -> I (Score of 3)

Tablets -> Tablet -> Table (Score of 2)

Jealous (Score of 0)


Well, my program comes up with sheathery. Note that the word list used is taken from /usr/share/dict/words on Ubuntu 16.04 and may contain some "interesting" words.

sheathery -> sheather -> sheathe -> sheath -> sheat -> shea -> she -> sh

It has a score of 7. This leaves me wondering what the hell sheathery is anyway... Ideas?

Another word wit a score of 6 which seems more promising is archery:

archery -> archer -> arche -> arch -> arc -> ar -> a
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The OED says "sheathery" means "Sheaths and similar articles collectively". $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Jun 1 '16 at 11:00
  • $\begingroup$ A sheathery is a shop that makes sheaths -- that is, a device for holding an edged weapon like a dagger or sword. I got this from the duplicate question's comments. $\endgroup$
    – jaydm26
    Jun 1 '16 at 17:23

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