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 Self-Absorbed Word™.

Use the following examples below to find the rule.

Self-Absorbed Words

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

Self-Absorbed Words™,Not Self-Absorbed Words™
Less Common Examples:,
  • $\begingroup$ Haven't you heard of the new big Google project Glass Looks At Someone Smiling? (just kidding). Then there's John Only Has Nine, and Emu Mimics Unix! $\endgroup$
    – ErikE
    Aug 29, 2016 at 17:46
  • $\begingroup$ Why the "™" in Self-Absorbed Word™ ? $\endgroup$ Aug 29, 2016 at 23:53
  • $\begingroup$ @DanWalmsley Because JLee did it and I'm just following in the format they created. $\endgroup$ Aug 30, 2016 at 0:05
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Engineer Toast Just to make it sound official, I guess. $\endgroup$
    – JLee
    Apr 27, 2022 at 15:33
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @JLee Start an entirely new brand of puzzles. Leave for 7 years. Return. Fantastic. $\endgroup$ Apr 27, 2022 at 15:41

1 Answer 1


I'm pretty sure these are

Recursive Acronyms

I recognize

Cave Automatic Virtual Environment, Gnu's Not Unix, Curl URL Request Library, and Wine Is Not an Emulator

Although I'm honestly a little surprised that DEN isn't self-absorbed. I thought I heard of something along those lines once.

Yes, all the self-absorbed words

Appear on this wikipedia page

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ /is using GIMP while reading this $\endgroup$
    – Mithical
    Aug 29, 2016 at 14:57
  • $\begingroup$ Would it have been more of a challenge had I left out the "Lesson Common Examples" header and just mixed them all up? I was worried it would be too esoteric a puzzle without it but I may have pushed it too far the other way. $\endgroup$ Aug 29, 2016 at 17:03
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @EngineerToast I don't think that would have made much of a difference? The biggest hint for me was the presence of GNU, which is (to me) by far the most unusual word on the list. $\endgroup$
    – Sconibulus
    Aug 29, 2016 at 17:10
  • $\begingroup$ @EngineerToast Yep, as soon as I saw "GNU" I didn't really even need to look at the rest of the list. Take out that word and it would be much more challenging. $\endgroup$ Aug 29, 2016 at 19:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Sconibulus To think, here I left it in specifically to make sure it wasn't too challenging. Ah, well. There'll be a new one tomorrow. $\endgroup$ Aug 29, 2016 at 20:01

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