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.

After a long period of division, tends to unite; After a long period of union, tends to divide. This has been so since antiquity. - The Three Kingdoms

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

$$ % set Title text. (spaces around the text ARE important; do not remove.) % increase Pad value only if your entries are longer than the title bar. % \def\Pad{\P{0.0}} \def\Title{\textbf{ Union }} % \def\S#1#2{\Space{#1}{20px}{#2px}}\def\P#1{\V{#1em}}\def\V#1{\S{#1}{9}} \def\T{\Title\textbf{Words}^{\;\!™}\Pad}\def\NT{\Pad\textbf{Not}\T\ }\displaystyle \smash{\lower{29px}\bbox[yellow]{\phantom{\rlap{rubio.2019.05.15}\S{6px}{0} \begin{array}{cc}\Pad\T&\NT\\\end{array}}}}\atop\def\V#1{\S{#1}{5}} \begin{array}{|c|c|}\hline\Pad\T&\NT\\\hline % \text{ ARGUMENT }&\text{ PARAMETER }\\ \hline \text{ DEUCE }&\text{ DRAW }\\ \hline \text{ PANASONIC }&\text{ HITACHI }\\ \hline \text{ CANESUGAR }&\text{ HONEY }\\ \hline \text{ FRAGMENT }&\text{ SCRAP }\\ \hline \text{ NORTH }&\text{ SOUTH }\\ \hline \text{ BRANCH }&\text{ DIVISION }\\ \hline \text{ INDEX }&\text{ EXPONENT }\\ \hline \text{ BELLY }&\text{ BACK }\\ \hline \text{ SAUCEPAN }&\text{ WOK }\\ \hline \end{array}$$

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

Union Words™,Not Union Words™

Hint 1:


  • 4
    $\begingroup$ (I've created an easy to use template for formatting these types of puzzles; feel free to use it. See e.g. What is a Useful Word™? and hit the Edit button to get teh codez.) $\endgroup$ – Rubio Jul 25 '19 at 12:10
  • $\begingroup$ @Rubio thanks for the revision :P $\endgroup$ – Conifers Jul 25 '19 at 13:17
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ One that can only be used exclusively with other Union words, else it will go on strike? $\endgroup$ – Chronocidal Jul 26 '19 at 9:16

A Union Word is a

Word whose first three letters are a valid Alpha-3 country code.


ARG -> Argentina


DEU -> Germany


PAN -> Panama


CAN -> Canada


FRA -> France


NOR -> Norway


BRA -> Brazil


IND -> India


BEL -> Belgium


SAU -> Saudi Arabia

| improve this answer | |
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Are you serious? Not again! :P $\endgroup$ – Cloudy7 Jul 25 '19 at 16:47
  • $\begingroup$ Not only country code but also those example are all in the UNIted natiON :P $\endgroup$ – Conifers Aug 7 '19 at 8:01

Here's my guess:

A Union Word™ is a word which has its first three letters align with the three-letter abbreviation of a country name.


Argument --> Argentina, Deuce --> Germany, Panasonic --> Panama, Canesugar --> Canada, Fragment --> France, North --> Norway, Branch --> Brazil, Index --> India, Belly --> Belize, Saucepan --> Saudi Arabia

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Great answer, but I think you've been barely ninjaed! Great minds think alike... $\endgroup$ – El-Guest Jul 25 '19 at 16:46
  • $\begingroup$ Belize was the one that initially tripped me up too -- but Belize is actually BLZ! $\endgroup$ – El-Guest Jul 25 '19 at 16:50
  • $\begingroup$ I forgot all about that nation! (I was thinking of soccer and the World Cup as I was answering the puzzle.) $\endgroup$ – Cloudy7 Jul 25 '19 at 16:56
  • $\begingroup$ But FIFA have their own, slightly different system. I like the close misses in the counterexamples: parameter and honey. $\endgroup$ – M Oehm Jul 25 '19 at 17:02
  • $\begingroup$ Parameter annoyed me because I thought it was just first three letters at first, but the first non-Union word was a counterexample! I didn’t actually realize the official ones were PRY and HND for those two, respectively. $\endgroup$ – El-Guest Jul 25 '19 at 18:36

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