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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 a Lonely Word™.

Use the following examples below to find the rule.

lonely

* Disputable
** Crowded

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

LONELY WORD™, NOT LONELY WORD™
CIVIL, FRIENDLY
OVAL*, RECTANGULAR
DULL, HANDSOME
FOCAL, SIGNIFICANT
SHINY, POLISHED
BIG, MINIATURE
CLOWN, ACROBATIC
WHOLE*, BROKEN
ULOTRICHOUS, DELICIOUS
JUSSIEUAN, COURAGEOUS
VACUOUS, HAZEL-EYED
MINI, TINY**
POROUS, ENORMOUS**
DOWDY, WEE*

 *Disputable
**Crowded

Hint:

1. Lonely does not mean Alone.

2. I mentioned in comments that fixing the mistake in Ulotricious would not change the fact that is a Lonely Word™. However, it does bring it one step closer to being a Not Lonely Word™.

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  • $\begingroup$ Some more examples would be good, if the answer below was not the intended answer. $\endgroup$ – Hack-R Sep 17 '16 at 1:59
  • $\begingroup$ @Hack-R I have added more examples. Believe it or not, it is really hard to come up with examples for this one. $\endgroup$ – Maria Deleva Sep 17 '16 at 6:08
  • $\begingroup$ It might be that a non lonely word is composition of one/more lonely word with "ly" or some other word. A lonely word can't be broken into sub parts, but a non-lonely word can. It may be, I ain't so sure. $\endgroup$ – user27395 Sep 18 '16 at 17:26
  • $\begingroup$ Would you like to tell us whether a Not Lonely Word is just a word that isn't a Lonely Word, or whether some words are neither Lonely nor Not Lonely? $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Sep 18 '16 at 19:11
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    $\begingroup$ @MD I suppose in not lonely words you get two or more words spelled as thou take letters orderly from the beginning. $\endgroup$ – user27395 Sep 21 '16 at 3:39
13
+50
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Partial attempt at an answer [heard something in the chat room while passing by on my way out to bed and came back to give it half a shot]:-

A Not Lonely Word™ is one that:-

Can be used as an adjective before a word formed by anagramming some or all of its letters, to give a common phrase

A Lonely Word™ is one that is not a Not Lonely Word™.

Examples:-

FRIENDLY FIRE
RECTANGULAR CAGE
HANDSOME MAN
SIGNIFICANT FACT
POLISHED SHOE
BROKEN BONE
DELICIOUS SLICE
HAZEL-EYED LADY
TINY NIT
ENORMOUS ROOM / MOUSE / MOOR / MORON (?)
WEE EWE (?)

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  • $\begingroup$ In this sense? puzzling.stackexchange.com/a/42355/29343 $\endgroup$ – Matsmath Sep 22 '16 at 20:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Matsmath, if you look carefully, the patterns used are different. $\endgroup$ – Maria Deleva Sep 22 '16 at 20:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Matsmath: No, not even close. They're both based off common two-word phrases, but the way you can get those phrases is completely different. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Sep 22 '16 at 20:39
  • $\begingroup$ Ahh, I see now, so the matching word is hiding inside. Clever. $\endgroup$ – Matsmath Sep 22 '16 at 20:40
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    $\begingroup$ How in life did you come up with this???? $\endgroup$ – greenturtle3141 Sep 22 '16 at 22:14
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A lonely word has

5 or fewer letters.

A not lonely word has

6 or more letters.


UPDATE
The new examples, of course, mean this is no longer accurate.

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @BeastlyGerbil Quite possible, but there are no counterexamples. $\endgroup$ – Dan Russell Sep 16 '16 at 21:00
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    $\begingroup$ If this is the intended answer... I have no words. And without different test cases, this is a valid answer nonetheless. +1 for exploiting the lack of better test cases :P $\endgroup$ – user14478 Sep 16 '16 at 21:01
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    $\begingroup$ Even though this answer is no longer valid, it could still be useful as a means of deciphering the rule, since we can assume that the length of the word makes it easier to categorize. Now that we know Lonely words can have more than 5 letters, I have to wonder if there are non-Lonely words with fewer than 6 characters... $\endgroup$ – Bulldogg6404 Sep 18 '16 at 19:07
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    $\begingroup$ Does the new Lonely Word™ ULOTRICIOUS have more than 5 letters? I keep losing count. $\endgroup$ – humn Sep 18 '16 at 19:42
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    $\begingroup$ @ΈρικΚωνσταντόπουλος When this was posted, it correctly described all examples provided. $\endgroup$ – Dan Russell Sep 22 '16 at 17:49

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