There is a common English word that is nine letters long.

Each time you remove a letter from it, it still remains an English word - from nine letters right down to a single letter.

What is the original word, and what are the words that it becomes after removing one letter at a time?

Hint 1:

The word before the letters are removed starts with the letter S.

Hint 2:

the last letter of the word before letters are removed is g.

Resource: https://www.riddles.com/1005 and my friend

  • $\begingroup$ You said the hint in the puzzle itself as well... $\endgroup$
    – puzzledPig
    Jan 31, 2018 at 18:35
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I do believe that this puzzle was on Snopes a while back. You probably should have cited snopes.com/language/puzzlers/9letters.asp $\endgroup$
    – Dr t
    Jan 31, 2018 at 18:38
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This question (in its many variations) is a regular one on this site, there are multiple solutions even with the clues, at least both ROT13(fpenccvat) and ROT13(fgnegyvat) work. $\endgroup$
    – Bass
    Jan 31, 2018 at 19:23

2 Answers 2


One answer is


The words that can be made are:

Starling, staring, string, sting, sing, sin, in, and I.

I suspect this is not the only answer though. I'd be curious to see if anyone finds another...


One word that fits the hints is...

startling. Removing letters gives starting, staring, string, sting, sing, sin, in, and I.

But there can be other 9-letter words that don't fit the specific hints. So far I've found...

1. growlings. Removing letters gives growling, growing, rowing, owing, wing, win, in, and I.

2. crownings. Removing letters gives crowning, crowing, ... (finish as above)


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