In the spirit of the What is a Word™/Phrase™ series started by JLee, a special brand of Phrase™ and Word™ puzzles.

If a word conforms to a special rule, I call it a Headered Word™.
Use the examples below to find the rule.

$$ % set Title text. (spaces around the text ARE important; do not remove.) % increase Pad value only if your entries are longer than the title bar. % \def\Pad{\P{1.2}} \def\Title{\textbf{ Headered }} % \def\S#1#2{\Space{#1}{20px}{#2px}}\def\P#1{\V{#1em}}\ \def\V#1{\S{#1}{9}} \def\T{\Title\textbf{Words }^™\Pad}\def\NT{\Pad\textbf{Not}\T\ }\displaystyle \smash{\lower{29px}\bbox[yellow]{\phantom{\rlap{rubio.2017.02.04}\S{6px}{0} \begin{array}{cc}\Pad\T&\NT\\\end{array}}}}\atop\def\V#1{\S{#1}{5}} \begin{array}{|c|c|}\hline\Pad\T&\NT\\\hline % \text{ A* }&\text{ AN }\\ \hline \text{ ADDLE }&\text{ ADDLED }\\ \hline \text{ ADORE }&\text{ ADORABLE }\\ \hline \text{ ADULT }&\text{ ADOLESCENT }\\ \hline \text{ BABY }&\text{ CHILD }\\ \hline \text{ BE* }&\text{ BEE }\\ \hline \text{ BLEMISH }&\text{ BLISTER }\\ \hline \text{ BOA }&\text{ BOW }\\ \hline \text{ BREATHE }&\text{ BREATH }\\ \hline \text{ CANDLES }&\text{ CANDLE }\\ \hline \text{ DIFFERENT }&\text{ DIFFER }\\ \hline \text{ EVERY* }&\text{ EACH }\\ \hline \text{ FAVORABLENESS }&\text{ FAVOR }\\ \hline \text{ FAVOURABLENESS }&\text{ FLAVOUR }\\ \hline \text{ FRIEND* }&\text{ FIEND }\\ \hline \text{ HEADERED* }&\text{ HEADER }\\ \hline \text{ ILLEGIBLE* }&\text{ LEGIBLE }\\ \hline \text{ MISCLASSIFIED* }&\text{ MAYBE }\\ \hline \text{ MULTISYLLABIC* }&\text{ MULTIPLE }\\ \hline \text{ MEASURABILITY* }&\text{ MEASURED }\\ \hline \text{ PRESUPPOSITIONAL*}&\text{ PARTITIONS }\\ \hline \end{array}$$ *Single-Headered Words

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

Headered Words™,Not Headered Words™

The puzzle satisfies the series' inbuilt assumption, that each word can be tested for whether it is a Headered Word™ without relying on the other words.
These are not the only examples of Headered Words™; many more exist.

What is the special rule these words conform to?

Bonus Headered Word™, which is maybe the longest Headered Word™:


Update 08/11

Marked Single-Headered Words™

2nd** Hint 08/18

**the Single-Headered Words™ didn't count as a hint
As a consequence of the property of Headered Words™, they also have the following property:

Concatenating two Headered Words™ will make a Headered Word™, assuming the result is a word.
e.g. BEFRIEND is a Headered Word™ because both BE and FRIEND are Headered Words™.

This does not necessarily mean that removing a Headered Word™ from a longer Headered Word™ will result in a second short Headered Word™.

  • $\begingroup$ The quoted Not Headered Word™ - 'MAYBE' is not a single word ! It is made up of two words - MAY and BE. In that way ....is it an exception ? $\endgroup$ Aug 7, 2017 at 15:02
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @MeaCulpaNay Maybe and may be are two different, while similar, things. Maybe is a synonym of possibly as an adverb and means "a small chance" as a noun. May be is an adverb and verb, which gives the same meaning as "possibly is/are". $\endgroup$
    – Apep
    Aug 7, 2017 at 15:21
  • $\begingroup$ Does every word/letter can be classified as headered or non-headered? What about KNOW? $\endgroup$ Aug 8, 2017 at 8:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @NikhilBhavar Yes, ever word classifies as a Headered Word™ or a Non-Headered Word™. KNOW is a Non-Headered Word™. $\endgroup$
    – Apep
    Aug 8, 2017 at 10:09
  • $\begingroup$ Is the order of letters relevant in a Headered Word™? $\endgroup$
    – E Jacobs
    Aug 15, 2017 at 8:48

2 Answers 2


A Headered Word™ is a word that...

when starting from the first letter of the word, jump forward a number of spaces equal to that letters position in the alphabet, then repeat that for each letter you land on, eventually landing exactly on the space after the last letter of the word.

And a Single-Headered Word™ is one that...

will cause you to jump from the very first letter to after the last letter (i.e. the position of the first letter in the alphabet is equal to the length of the word).

I'm guessing it's called a Headered Word™ because...

it's similar to a block of header information in a data file. Blocks of header data often contain within them information on their own size (in bytes/characters), which allows you to easily skip over them and on to the next block of information without reading unnecessary data.

A Headered Word™ is similar in that it contains within it the means to skip ahead to just past its end. For example, let's say you have a file that contains a series of space-separated Headered Words™:

If I asked you to read the fifth word from the file, you might take the simple approach of just reading every character sequentially, keeping track of the number of spaces read until you reached 4, then reading the ensuing characters into a string until the next space. You would end up reading every character up to and including the fifth word.

However, if you knew that all the words in the file were Headered Words™ then you could do this more efficiently. When you read a given character you can skip forward by a number of characters equal to its 0-based position in the alphabet (or do nothing if it's a space), reducing the number of read operations you have to do by skipping many of the characters you're not interested in. Just as an example, here's a simple MATLAB script that would do this (without end-of-file error-checking and such):

N = 5;  % The word you want
fid = fopen(wordFile, 'rt');

% Skip unwanted words:
while (N > 1)
  newChar = fscanf(fid, '%c', 1);
  if isspace(newChar)
    N = N - 1;  % Decrement for each space found
    fseek(fid, upper(newChar)-65, 0);  % Skip forward

% Read the desired word:
str = '';
newChar = fscanf(fid, '%c', 1);
while ~isspace(newChar)
  str = [str newChar];
  newChar = fscanf(fid, '%c', 1);


  • $\begingroup$ The explanation for the property and name are correct. The only other thing hidden in the puzzle was a hint in the non-words when starting after maybe. $\endgroup$
    – Apep
    Jan 11, 2018 at 17:51

Well, I guess

All of the Headered Words can be combined with 'HEAD' somewhere (either in the beginning or at the end or in between) to form other meaningful words such as A + HEAD = AHEAD, ADDLE + HEAD = ADDLEHEAD, BE + HEAD = BEHEAD etc.

Hold on!

Others seem to follow a different format ... to explore

Which is

Not the case with the Non Headerd words !

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ An interesting idea that I hadn't thought of while looking for things to make counter-examples for. Fortunately, the longer words and bonus word exclude this. To give a direct counter-example: BEER is not a Headered Word™. $\endgroup$
    – Apep
    Aug 7, 2017 at 15:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.