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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 BFF Word™.
Use the examples below to find the rule.

$$ % set Title text. (spaces around the text ARE important; do not remove.) % increase Pad value only if your entries are longer than the title bar. % \def\Pad{\P{0.0}} \def\Title{\textbf{ BFF }} % \def\S#1#2{\Space{#1}{20px}{#2px}}\def\P#1{\V{#1em}}\def\V#1{\S{#1}{9}} \def\T{\Title\textbf{Words}^{\;\!™}\Pad}\def\NT{\Pad\textbf{Not}\T\ } \smash{\lower{29px}\bbox[lightblue]{\phantom{\rlap{rubio.2019.05.15}\S{6px}{0} \begin{array}{cc}\Pad\T&\NT\\\end{array}}}}\atop\def\V#1{\S{#1}{5}} \begin{array}{|c|c|}\hline\Pad\T&\NT\\\hline % \text{ gourd}&\text{ bakery}\\ \hline \text{ catch}&\text{ horizon}\\ \hline \text{ wizardly}&\text{ doorplate}\\ \hline \text{ birdbath}&\text{ bonding}\\ \hline \text{ merchants}&\text{ albino}\\ \hline \text{ finish}&\text{ rikshaw}\\ \hline \text{ alert}&\text{ fighter}\\ \hline \text{ hybrid}&\text{ beats}\\ \hline \text{ mothers}&\text{ deprive}\\ \hline \text{ costume}&\text{ grayhen}\\ \hline \hline \end{array}$$

CSV version:

BFF Words™, Not BFF Words™
gourd,      bakery
catch,      horizon
wizardly,   doorplate
birdbath,   bonding
merchants,  albino
finish,     rikshaw
alert,      fighter
hybrid,     beats
mothers,    deprive
costume,    grayhen

What is the special rule these words conform to?

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I see many rot13(navznyf).. $\endgroup$ – athin Mar 26 at 10:48
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A BFF Word is one where:

If you remove two letters, you are left with an anagram of an animal which is a common household pet ("man's best friend", hence 'BFF' - Best Friends Forever).

Namely:

GOURD = GOURD 🡒 DOG;
CATCH = CATCH 🡒 CAT;
WIZARDLY = WIZARDLY 🡒 LIZARD;
BIRDBATH = BIRDBATH 🡒 RABBIT;
MERCHANTS = MERCHANTS 🡒 HAMSTER;
FINISH = FINISH 🡒 FISH;
ALERT = ALERT 🡒 RAT;
HYBRID = HYBRID 🡒 BIRD;
MOTHERS = MOTHERS 🡒 HORSE;
COSTUME = COSTUME 🡒 MOUSE.

Furthermore, the non-BFF Words exhibit a different but related pattern - namely that:

If you remove two letters, you are left with an anagram of an animal which is not a common household pet!

BAKERY = BAKERY 🡒 BEAR;
HORIZON = HORIZON 🡒 RHINO;
DOORPLATE = DOORPLATE 🡒 LEOPARD;
BONDING = BONDING 🡒 DINGO;
ALBINO = ALBINO 🡒 LION;
RIKSHAW = RIKSHAW 🡒 SHARK;
FIGHTER = FIGHTER 🡒 TIGER;
BEATS = BEATS 🡒 BAT;
DEPRIVE = DEPRIVE 🡒 VIPER;
GRAYHEN = GRAYHEN 🡒 HYENA.

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  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Great job, you got it! Can you also figure out what is special about the non-BFF words? $\endgroup$ – DenverCoder1 Mar 26 at 11:02
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You know what, I think I can! I'd even spotted that in ALBINO before answering - just hadn't twigged they all did it! Will amend my answer... $\endgroup$ – Stiv Mar 26 at 11:03

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