Now that the word LEAD was turned into GOLD in only three steps (kudos n_palum) can you turn the word LEAD into IRON changing one letter at a time creating new legit 4 letter words (from Dictionary) in 5 steps or less? Again I am sure there are more than a few answers. And can you do it without using a Proper Noun or name? ( I could not).

• PB - PI - IE - FE done!
– Alex
Mar 22, 2017 at 19:12
• Four letter words Alex
– DrD
Mar 22, 2017 at 20:50
• Has a correct answer been given? If so, please don't forget to $\color{green}{\checkmark \small\text{Accept}}$ it :)
– Rubio
Apr 10, 2017 at 16:49

If you want to use proper nouns, you could:

LEAN
LEON
IEON
IRON

• IEON if that is indeed there then 4 steps are possible.
– DrD
Mar 19, 2017 at 15:37
• According to the internet, it is a spelling of the name that has shown up a fair number of times throughout history. Mar 19, 2017 at 16:25

The best I can do:

LEAN
BEAN
BRAN
IRAN
IRON

• I am waiting for someone to do it either 4 steps or without IRAN. We will see
– DrD
Mar 18, 2017 at 23:24
• @DeepakMahulikar It is impossible in 4 steps. Mar 19, 2017 at 3:44

Starting with this list of 4 letter words

I've found the following three words that are one away from IRON,

Unfortunately, the first one only leads back to iron or the 2nd word.

The best I've figured using the 2nd word has 7 steps, and uses some uncommon words.

leat
seat
skat
ikat
ikan
ikon
iron

However, using the 3rd word, I've found the following 5 steps, which appears to be optimal.

trod
tron
iron

• I was thinking about 'tron' but online it said it's debatable whether tron is a word... Mar 19, 2017 at 1:07
• That's why I included links to the definitions for all of the words.
– Herb
Mar 19, 2017 at 1:09
• Looks like in your third block, you're changing two letters between the 4th and 5th words. Mar 19, 2017 at 4:52
• @TannerSwett good catch, I changed it to my other list, using less common words.
– Herb
Mar 19, 2017 at 5:05

The most optimal solution that I have been able to find is this: