I will give you five nouns and you have to find the one which doesn't belong with the others. Sounds easy? Try it!

  • woman, child, police, sun, car
  • ireland, island, goblin, citizen, sheep
  • spy, adventurer, witch, convention, thief
  • network, computer, mousepad, keyboard, wire

In your answer you have to:

  • tell me which one doesn't belong
  • explain the pattern, which is the same for all four sets
  • make up your own example with five nouns

Have fun!

If you're stuck - here's a hint ...

The pattern works in every language.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Puzzling! $\endgroup$ Jul 15, 2017 at 19:19
  • $\begingroup$ I have a question. Does the pattern vary for all 4 questions? If so, when we make up our example, what would make it a valid example? $\endgroup$
    – Sid
    Jul 15, 2017 at 19:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Sid The pattern is always the same, if you mean that. $\endgroup$
    – user37432
    Jul 15, 2017 at 20:06

7 Answers 7


Police, Ireland, convention, network


They are abstract concepts, they don't refer to actual objects, made out of atoms. I'm putting Ireland as the second one assuming that you mean it as the state of Ireland, rather than the island itself.

New set:

Rock, pen, desk, chair, shadow

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You got it. I too was worried about the word "Ireland". $\endgroup$
    – user37432
    Jul 16, 2017 at 10:19
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ Are you saying that goblins are real? $\endgroup$ Jul 16, 2017 at 10:33
  • $\begingroup$ Ireland is a country. $\endgroup$ Jul 16, 2017 at 11:20
  • $\begingroup$ Concepts are abstract by their very nature. And what exactly is not material about Ireland? It's also the proper name of an island. If anything, mother, citizen, island and sheep are abstract inthat they are names for generic concepts, not for material things, unless you call sets material. $\endgroup$ Jul 16, 2017 at 12:07
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSmith: No, but if they existed, they would be a concrete object. $\endgroup$
    – user9771
    Jul 16, 2017 at 12:26

woman, child, police, sun, car

Does not belong: 'Sun' because Under one Sun there are many women, children, police, cars but the sun is ONE

ireland, island, goblin, citizen, sheep

Does not belong: 'Ireland' because In one Ireland there are many islands, golins, citizens, sheep but Ireland is ONE

spy, adventurer, witch, convention, thief

Does not belong: 'Convention' because In ONE convention there may be may spies, adventurers, witches, thieves, but the convention is ONE

network, computer, mousepad, keyboard, wire

Does not belong: 'Network' because In one network there can be many computers, mousepads, keyboards, wires but network is ONE

My own example with five nouns: body, vein, shoe, bone, bacteria

A body can have many veins, bones, bacteria and can wear two (human) or more(animals) shoes but the body ONE

  • $\begingroup$ If this answer is correct then the Hint is misleading, hint should be:'Umbrella' $\endgroup$
    – user9174
    Jul 16, 2017 at 8:31
  • $\begingroup$ This is a good answer, but I don't think that the hint is misleading: It just tells you to look at the meaning of the words, not at their representation in one language. (So it's more of a clarification than a hint. Given that the question is rather broad, this clarification should probably be a part of the question, not a hint.) $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Jul 16, 2017 at 8:53
  • $\begingroup$ Unfortunately not the answer I wanted. But cool theory. $\endgroup$
    – user37432
    Jul 16, 2017 at 10:17
  • $\begingroup$ There are many goblins in Ireland?! Remind me never to go there. $\endgroup$
    – edderiofer
    Jul 16, 2017 at 13:29
  • $\begingroup$ @edderiofer, don't tell me I didn't warn you, especially about conventions :D $\endgroup$
    – user9174
    Jul 16, 2017 at 13:34


Sun, goblin, witch, network
all not terrestrial
Other words are terrestrial


goblin and witch are spirits, fake
Sun is on earth
network is not something you can touch and it uses Satellite


Bride, Groom, Father, Mother, Elf


Elf is an imaginary being

  • $\begingroup$ You're near the mark but not the answer I want. You're getting closer ... $\endgroup$
    – user37432
    Jul 15, 2017 at 21:33


police, sheep, convention, network.

All can refer to groups (of animals or people). The other nouns are all singular objects.


hammer, tower, highway, audience, chair


Possible answer:

police, sheep, spy, wire


On each line there are two pairs of words which has the same length (e.g. pair 1: "woman", "child"; pair 2: "sun", "car"), and the word without pair (e.g. police) is the odd and doesn't fit in.

Another example as is requested by quest:

car, egg, door, word, alien

Where this word is odd:


  • $\begingroup$ That's sheer coincidence and not the "right" answer. Sorry. $\endgroup$
    – user37432
    Jul 15, 2017 at 20:07
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I liked this answer, but it fails on network, computer, mousepad, keyboard, wire - letter lengths are 7, 8, 8, 8, 4. $\endgroup$
    – YowE3K
    Jul 16, 2017 at 21:39

This is a complete stretch...




If you place the number of vowels in each word (including "y") over the length of that word and reduce, you end up with one fraction in each set that has a unique denominator.

For instance, the first line:
Vowels/Length: 2/5, 1/5, 3/6, 1/3, 1/3
Reduced: 2/5, 1/5, 1/2, 1/3, 1/3
5 and 3 each appear in a denominator twice. 2 only appears once.

Reducing is necessary for the last line but works for all of them.

New Set:

bear, ant, pear, trees, forest

  • $\begingroup$ Wow, unfortunately it's not the answer I want. It's way easier. xD $\endgroup$
    – user37432
    Jul 15, 2017 at 21:32

[Police, ireland, convention, network]

  • Police - only plural

  • Ireland - only proper noun

  • Convention - only one not describing a person

  • network - only not referring to specific singular tangible item


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