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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 an Introspective Word™.

Use the following examples below to find the rule.

Introspective Words

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

Introspective Words™,Not Introspective Words™
BRIEF,LONG
CLEAR,FUZZY
COMMON,RARE
COMPLETE,INCOMPLETE
ELOQUENT,MOVING
ENGLISH,FRENCH
ESOTERIC,SECRET
ISOGRAM,PANGRAM
MEANINGFUL,RANDOM
NOUN,VERB
SIMPLE,COMPLEX
UNAMBIVALENT,CONFUSED
UNHYPHENATED,HYPHENATED
WEE,LARGE
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  • $\begingroup$ introspective leads me to think that its something to do with the words themselves, but more in the middle of them - like the middle letters form words or something $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Aug 24 '16 at 18:06
  • $\begingroup$ Assuming MOehm's answer is right, very clever. Nicely worked out and presented! $\endgroup$ – Dan Russell Aug 24 '16 at 19:08
  • $\begingroup$ I like how there is a CSV version that you can run your analysis programs on to lead you down the garden path. $\endgroup$ – M Oehm Aug 24 '16 at 20:00
  • $\begingroup$ Yay this series makes a comeback! $\endgroup$ – Ian MacDonald Aug 24 '16 at 20:06
  • $\begingroup$ Does the order the words are listed in matter, for example is "brief" the introspective version of "long" or is there no relationship between "brief" and "long"? $\endgroup$ – Celeritas Aug 25 '16 at 7:17
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I think that Introspective Word™ is another name for ...

... autological word, a word that describes a property that it has or, more or less, a word that describes itself.

For example:

"Brief" is a short word, but "long" isn't a long word. "Noun" is a noun, but "verb" isn't a verb; it's a noun, too. "English" is an English word, but "French" isn't a French word and so on.

Some cases are a bit more complicated, but they work, too: "Simple" is a simple word, but the word "complex" itself isn't complex. Both "unambivalent" and "confused" are unambivalent; both "meaningful" and "random" are meaningful and both "complete" and "incomplete" are complete. I'm not so sure about "eloquent" and "esoteric", though.

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  • $\begingroup$ I dunno, if "verbing weirds language" I think it's fair to say that 'conjugation verbs nouns' and therefor verb is a perfectly valid verb :) $\endgroup$ – Sconibulus Aug 24 '16 at 18:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Sconibulus: You're right, the online OED has it as "Use (a word that is not conventionally used as a verb, typically a noun) as a verb". But for the sake of this answer, let's say that the usual use of "verb" is as a noun. (It's interesting that the noun/verb line is the only one that doesn't use adjectives.) $\endgroup$ – M Oehm Aug 24 '16 at 18:41
  • $\begingroup$ That wasn't a serious objection, more of an excuse to reference Calvin and Hobbes than anything else $\endgroup$ – Sconibulus Aug 24 '16 at 19:48
  • $\begingroup$ I used the Wiktionary list as a source so there's a grain of salt in its value. Esoteric is a not a word I hear used often although its meaning is typically understood. Eloquent was a bit of a stretch but I liked how it's a synonym with moving when describing a speech but their other definitions are where the autological / heterological differences arise: "clearly expressing or indicating something" vs. "in motion". $\endgroup$ – Engineer Toast Aug 24 '16 at 19:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Sconibulus The source I used does list verbify which was moved to "Other parts of speech" on 2005-07-12 because, I presume, the editors weren't sure what to do with it. $\endgroup$ – Engineer Toast Aug 24 '16 at 19:54

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