What is the next word(more than one is possible!) in the below sequence of words:

NO, ATE, OPTS, _ _ _ _ _ ?


1 Only standard English words(as per Oxford English Dictionary) are to be provided.

2 As multiple answers are possible, first correct entry wins

3 There can be other sets of words(which are altogether different from the above)- which can form such a sequence. This is /may not be the only one

4 Based on David R's answer, this is getting added: All the letters of the words are different OR there is no repeated letter in any of the words.

  • $\begingroup$ rot13(Vf gurer fbzrguvat havdhr nobhg gur yrggref, engure guna gur jbeqf gurl sbez?) $\endgroup$ – David Robie Feb 13 at 14:30
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure I get clue 4: There are two 'O's and two 'T's already... $\endgroup$ – Darrel Hoffman Feb 13 at 21:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Darrel Hoffman In each word, individually, there are no repeated letters. $\endgroup$ – Mea Culpa Nay Feb 14 at 0:41

My guess:



ITEMS -> ITEMS, TIMES, EMITS, MITES, SMITE (each letter begins its own anagram).

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  • $\begingroup$ Yes, you got it correct, well done! $\endgroup$ – Mea Culpa Nay Feb 13 at 23:27
  • $\begingroup$ Hmm, I should've gotten this, since I posted almost the exact same puzzle six months ago... $\endgroup$ – Darrel Hoffman Feb 14 at 14:29

I think that it could be

PARSE (or any anagram thereof)


I think the $n$th term in the sequence is a word with $n$ letters which has the maximal number of anagrams so PARSE has APERS, APRES, ASPER, PARES, PEARS, PRASE, PRESA, RAPES, REAPS, SPARE, SPEAR (12 anagrams which I think is the most possible for 5 letters).

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  • $\begingroup$ Well, hexomino, a good try, though intended answer is different. RAPERS is not possible. $\endgroup$ – Mea Culpa Nay Feb 13 at 10:33
  • $\begingroup$ @MeaCulpaNay Sorry that was a typo, fixed now. $\endgroup$ – hexomino Feb 13 at 11:10
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I guess the answer should be the lexicographically smallest one. $\endgroup$ – athin Feb 13 at 12:00

I think the next word is



Each word has only one vowel or consonant, alternating each word. NO is 1 of each, ATE is one consonant, OPTS is one vowel, and QUEUE is again one consonant.

Other options in English are


With this logic, the 6 letter word could be

SNITCH and SPRING with possible entries for THIRTY, TWENTY, and SYSTEM, depending on whether or not you count the Y.

No 7 letter words follow this rule though.

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  • $\begingroup$ interesting answer, not the intended answer, though. $\endgroup$ – Mea Culpa Nay Feb 13 at 14:24

I believe the answer could be

Stare, or its other 4 anagrams: tears, rates, stear (old timey synonym of steer, as in, to stear a car) and earst (which means long ago).


No has two anagrams: on, no, and two letters.
Ate has three anagrams: tea, eat, ate, and three letters. Opts has four anagrams: pots, stop, opts, tops, and 4 letters. Therefore the next must have five anagrams and five letters.

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  • $\begingroup$ rot13("bcgf" unf gjb zber nantenzf: "cbfg" naq "fcbg". Vg vf cebonoyl gur zbfg nantenznoyr frg bs 4 yrggref.) $\endgroup$ – Darrel Hoffman Feb 13 at 21:08
  • $\begingroup$ @GridAlien: Yes, you are almost there, but missed by one word, that starts with E. Erst is a correct word, while earst is not, I am afraid. Nice try! $\endgroup$ – Mea Culpa Nay Feb 18 at 14:12

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