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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 Snake Word™.

Use the examples below to find the rule.

$$ % set Title text. (spaces around the text ARE important; do not remove.) % increase Pad value only if your entries are longer than the title bar. % \def\Pad{\P{0.0}} \def\Title{\textbf{ Snake }} % \def\S#1#2{\Space{#1}{20px}{#2px}}\def\P#1{\V{#1em}}\ \def\V#1{\S{#1}{9}} \def\T{\Title\textbf{Words }^™\Pad}\def\NT{\Pad\textbf{Not}\T\ }\displaystyle \smash{\lower{29px}\bbox[yellow]{\phantom{\rlap{rubio.2017.02.04}\S{6px}{0} \begin{array}{cc}\Pad\T&\NT\\\end{array}}}}\atop\def\V#1{\S{#1}{5}} \begin{array}{|c|c|}\hline\Pad\T&\NT\\\hline % \text{FOUR}&\text{EIGHT}\\ \hline \text{KNIGHT}&\text{KNAVE}\\ \hline \text{LIZARD}&\text{SNAKE}\\ \hline \text{MONDAY}&\text{FRIDAY}\\ \hline \text{MOTHER}&\text{MOM}\\ \hline \text{OMEGA}&\text{BETA}\\ \hline \text{PEACH}&\text{LEMON}\\ \hline \text{PLOUGHERS}&\text{FLOWERS}\\ \hline \text{REACTION}&\text{REPLY}\\ \hline \text{RETHINK}&\text{THINKER}\\ \hline \text{STACK}&\text{OVERFLOW}\\ \hline \text{SILVER}&\text{BRONZE}\\ \hline \text{TANGO}&\text{FOXTROT}\\ \hline \text{THIS}&\text{THAT}\\ \hline \text{THUNDER}&\text{STORM}\\ \hline \text{TRUMP}&\text{PENCE}\\ \hline \text{VARYING}&\text{STEADY}\\ \hline \text{WEALTH}&\text{WEALTHY}\\ \hline \text{WHITE}&\text{BLACK}\\ \hline \end{array}$$

CSV version:

Snake Words™,Not Snake Words™
FOUR,EIGHT
KNIGHT,KNAVE
LIZARD,SNAKE
MONDAY,FRIDAY
MOTHER,MOM
OMEGA,BETA
PEACH,LEMON
PLOUGHERS,FLOWERS
REACTION,REPLY
RETHINK,THINKER
STACK,OVERFLOW
SILVER,BRONZE
TANGO,FOXTROT
THIS,THAT
THUNDER,STORM
TRUMP,PENCE
VARYING,STEADY
WEALTH,WEALTHY
WHITE,BLACK

The puzzle relies on the series' inbuilt assumption, that each word can be tested for whether it is a Snake Word™ without relying on the other words.

These are not the only examples of Snake Words™, many more exist.

Bonus question: What is the longest Snake Word™ in the English language?

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  • 12
    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure how you can call these "Snake Words" if the word "Snake" is not a "Snake Word"!! $\endgroup$ – Gordon K Feb 1 '18 at 13:35
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    $\begingroup$ @GordonK: "Anagram" is not an anagram of anything. "Palindrome" is not a palindrome. "Indescribable" is a descriptor. $\endgroup$ – Flater Feb 2 '18 at 10:59
  • $\begingroup$ @Flater I think there are a few people who might disagree with your first statement google.co.uk/… $\endgroup$ – Gordon K Feb 2 '18 at 11:53
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A Snake word is one that:

When you place the letters on a standard QWERTY keyboard, you can construct a path through adjacent letter keys to spell the full word without intersections.

Examples:

PLOUGHERS: PLOiUytGHbvcxzawERdS
RETHINK: REdfTgHuIjNmK
WEALTHY: WEdsAzxcvbnmkLoiuyTgHY -collides at Y
FLOWERS: FghjkLOiuytrdxzaWER -collides at R

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  • $\begingroup$ +1 but WEALTHY is possible if number keys are allowed. You should clarify that the path must be through adjacent letter keys. $\endgroup$ – Engineer Toast Feb 1 '18 at 14:54
  • $\begingroup$ Good point, edited to clarify $\endgroup$ – Sconibulus Feb 1 '18 at 15:02
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    $\begingroup$ For descrying * out loud! I've outgnawed my dictionary and it seems 9-letter words such as "ploughers" are already the best we can get. Casefying plighters! Longheads, all of them, with filmcards for loinguards! #@$! [redacting. I'll be rewashing my mouth.] (* Yeah, I know it doesn't mean crying.) $\endgroup$ – M Oehm Feb 1 '18 at 15:17
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    $\begingroup$ @MOehm: Uhhh.... but loinguards is 10 letters. $\endgroup$ – gnovice Feb 1 '18 at 15:29
  • $\begingroup$ @gnovice: Oh, cool! My dictionary only had loinguard, but the plural seems to work, too. $\endgroup$ – M Oehm Feb 1 '18 at 15:35
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I [EDITED: no longer] think a Snake Word is one

that, if you locate its letters on a standard QWERTY keyboard and draw lines between successive pairs, produces a non-self-intersecting trace

but that condition seems to hold for a substantial majority of the Snake Words listed and for none of the non-Snake-Words listed, which seems like it can't be pure coincidence.

It fails for the following Snake Words in the table: PLOUGHERS, RETHINK, SILVER, THIS, TRUMP.

I wondered whether

the right condition might involve some QWERTY-like layout that isn't quite QWERTY. Levieux's name suggests trying AZERTY but that also doesn't work.

... Aha, looks like Sconibulus has it, and I was indeed kinda on the right lines.

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