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Symmetrical letter patterns.

We take for granted the symmetrical letter patterns in palindromes - such as LEVEL and KAYAK. These involve all the letters in the word. But what about symmetrical letter patterns which occur in non-palindromic words, such as that of the letter N in ENCHANTMENT? In Making the Alphabet Dance, Ross Eckler gave the name `cadence' to a set of identical letters spaced at equal intervals in a word - as in SYNGENESIOTRANSPLANTATION. Here, I add two constraints: the letters must be symmetrical within the word, as well as in relation to each other. the letters must not occur elsewhere within the word. In ULULALU, for example, although two of the Us are symmetrical, the three Us taken together are not symmetrical.

I have divided the words with symmetrical letter patterns into two main groups:

A. those in which a set of identical letters is symmetrically-arranged

B. those in which sets of 2 or more different letters are symmetrically-arranged

The symbols used:

X represents identical letters

* represents any number of letters, the same number in a particular word. Ditto ? and - In a particular word ? and - always represent different numbers of letters. Either ? or - may, or may not, represent the same number of letters as *

In those words which include both the symbols ? and - there are different ways of making a specific length word, the number of ways increasing with the length of the word. Consider, for example, the pattern * X ? X - X ? X * = 14 letters - see A. Type 2 (c) below. Theoretically (and practically) it can be achieved in 5 different ways (numbers = the number of letters):

1 X 1 X 6 X 1 X 1, 1 X 2 X 4 X 2 X 1, 1 X 3 X 2 X 3 X 1, 2 X 1 X 4 X 1 X 2, 3 X 1 X 2 X 1 X 3

In words with an odd number of letters the central letter, if not repeated elsewhere, is symmetrical. However, GEOMORPHOLOGY would not conform to the pattern * X ? X - X ? X * if the letter P were treated as a second symmetrical letter. So here I only treat the central letter as symmetrical::

where it forms part of a set of symmetrical identical letters as, for example, in the patterns (*) X ? X ? X (*) and (*) X X ? X ? X X (*) where it forms the central letter of a central palindromic group of 5 or more letters, as do the letters F and L in KNIFING and CENTILITRES respectively.

Some patterns were found in only a few (or one) words. `All' these words are listed. In the case of the more prolific patterns, I offer selections. All the examples are either solid or hyphenated. Phrases are excluded. Tautonyms are also excluded (such as ITAI-ITAI with its symmetrical I). Unreferenced words can be found in the OED Second Edition as head words, variant forms and text words including citations. References for non-OED words are given at the end.

A. SET OF IDENTICAL LETTERS SYMMETRICALLY-ARRANGED

There are four basic types of symmetrical pattern which use only one letter of the alphabet:

Type 1. single letters equally-spaced in the word Type 2. single letters not all equally-spaced Type 3. doubled letters only Type 4. single letters and doubled letters

In turn, each of these four types of pattern can be divided into two categories: those which start with one of the symmetrically-arranged letters (X ....... X), and those which start with some other letter (*X ....... X*).
TYPE 1 Single letters equally-spaced in the word

 (a) Pattern X ? X ? X
 No words of any length were found for the letters
 F, J, V and Z.

 5 letters: ABACA, DADED, EGENE, GOGAG, HEHAH, IPITI, KEKUK (tig),
 NONAN, OROMO, POP-UP, RARER, SISTS, TETHT, URUBU, XIXAX
 (ww92216), YLYKY
 7 letters: AQUARIA, BENBURB, COLCHIC, DAWDLED, EXPENSE, GOUGING,
 HASHISH, ILLINOI, KARKEEK (edfc), MNEMISM (sted),
 NAUNTON (tig), OBLONGO, PIT-PROP, RETRAIR, SEESAWS,
 TAUTEST, UNGUNDU (tig), WOUWOUW, XAAXKAX (a Mexican
 village), YAMYRLY
 9 letters: ALEXANDRA, CHALCIDIC, DAUNDERED, ENUMERATE, GUANGDONG,
 HANCHURCH (Staffordshire), IMPLIEDLI, KNICKNACK,
 LADDLEFUL, MINIMARUM (sted), NEWINGTON (Kent), OAK-POTATO,
 PRIMPED-UP, QARA-QULAQ (cham), RESERVOIR, SATISFIES,
 TOASTIEST, WIFE-WIDOW, YESTYRDAY
11 letters: AUTOBASIDIA, COLPECTATIC (sted), DISORDAINED, EARTHENWARE,
 GEOLOGIZING, HERETHROUGH, KANICKANICK, LATEGLACIAL,
 MATRIMONIUM, NAGGING-PAIN, ORANGOTANGO, RAINPROOFER,
 SOPHISTRIES, TRICOTEMENT, WATERWILLOW
13 letters: AMPHIGASTRULA, CRYPTOCLASTIC, DISMURDERIZED,
 EMPHYSEMATOSE, GODFORGETTING, IMPROVISATORI,
 KILLICKINNICK, NIGHT-INVASION, PRINCIPALSHIP,
 REDISTRIBUTOR (web2), STEREOSTATICS, TRADUCTIONIST
15 letters: ANTONIO-AQUILINA, CARDIOSCLEROTIC (sted), DOWNWARD-FORWARD,
 ENTRANCE-PASSAGE, GRAMMAR-GRINDING, LITHOXYLOIDICAL
 NITROGENISATION, PHILOSOPHERSHIP, SUBMINISTRATORS,
 THREMMATOLOGIST (bt)
17 letters: GUTTURAL-GRUMBLING, HANDKERCHIEF-CLOTH, NEUROTRANSMISSION,
 RHOMBIC-TRIANGULAR, SUTURE-INSTRUMENTS

 (b) Pattern X ? X ? X ? X
 No words found for B, D, F, G, H, I, J, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R,
 U, V, W, X, Y and Z.

10 letters: AMBARVALIA, EXPEDIENCE, SUN-SENSORS, TEST-RETEST
13 letters: KNICKETY-KNOCK, SINISTER-SIDES
16 letters: CHOLECYSTECTATIC (sted), SMICKSMICKSMACKS (csd)

 (c) Pattern X ? X ? X ? X ? X
 No words found for B, C, F through Z.

 9 letters: ANAPANAPA (web2)
13 letters: DINDLE-DANDLED, EFFERVESCENCE

 (d) Pattern * X 1 X 1 X * (1 indicates one letter)
 No words found for D, F, J, K, V, W, X and Z.

 7 letters: CARAVAN, JEZEBEL, NGOGOGO (tig), PHPHPHT, MILITIA,
 ULULALU, AMOMUMS, UNONING, SOLOMON, UQOQOQO (tig),
 PRURIRE, STATUTE, CUMULUS, CYTYZYN
 9 letters: SEALAPACK, HO-BO-BO-BOO, CLEVEREST, LOGOGOGUE (web2),
 CRITICISE, MOLILALIC (sted), CONENINES (sted), PROTOZOAN,
 HYPOPEPSY, SARTRERIE, OUTSTATES, PHYSYCYON
11 letters: UNPALATABLE, PEACOCK-COAL, VICE-REGENTS, EIGHTH-WHEEL,
 DOMICILIARY, FAWNINGNESS, CHROMOSOMAL, LIBRARY-ROOM,
 TENSE-SYSTEM, DESTITUTION, BENYFYCYALL
13 letters: EXTRAVAGANCES, SPATCHCOCKING, UNPRECEDENTAL,
 ACQUISITIVELY, REPUNGNANTLIE, METEOROLOGIST, CONSTITUTIONS
15 letters: HYPOCATALASEMIC (sted), NON-PRECEDENTIAL, PERMANENTNESSES
 (web2), ANTHROPOLOGICAL, ALTOCUMULUS-TYPE
17 letters: TRACT-DEGENERATION, SPECTROBOLOMETRIC (web2)

 (e) Pattern * X 2 X 2 X *
 No words found for F, J, M, Q, W, X and Z.

 9 letters: TASMANIAN, ACESCENCE, SEPTEMBER, THIGHACHE, VITRIOLIC,
 SKUNK-LIKE, INVENTING, COMMOTION, PROCREARE, TSOTSIISM,
 VULTUROUS, TYNSYLLYN
11 letters: GRAMMARIANS, RUBROBULBAR, ONCHOCERCAL, UNDERDEODES,
 FREQUENTEST, JEHOSHAPHAT, QUINTILLION, CONTINGENCY,
 BRONTOSCOPY (web2), PERCARBURET, POTENTIATES, AQUACULTURE,
 SWYNGYLLYNG
13 letters: DISADVANTAGES, TRICHOCERCOUS (dbs), UNPERFECTEDLY (web2),
 RINGING-ENGINE, ORTHORHAPHOUS, DEVIATIONISTS,
 QUINCENTENARY, GERONTOPHOBIA (cham), OVERFORWARDLY,
 PROTESTANTISH
15 letters: SUBLAPSARIANISM, MESOCONCHICALLY (sted), SHAKESPEAREANLY,
 DRUDGING-ENGINES, PSYCHORHYTHMIAS (sted), NONDISCIPLINARY
 (web2), SIMILARLY-PLACED, IMMUNOENHANCERS (sted),
 AMNIOCHORIONICS (sted), UNDERPERFORMING
17 letters: UNDISADVANTAGEOUS (web2), INTRAEXPERIENTIAL,
 MATERIALISTICALLY, PLASMODIOPHORALES (web2),
 UROCOPROPORPHYRIA (medical)

 (f) Pattern * X 3 X 3 X *
 No words found for D, F, G, J, K, Q, V, W, X and Z.

11 letters: CARRIAGEWAY, ECTOSCOPICS (sted), BEFORETIMES, BIOCLIMATIC,
 FLATULENTLY INCOGNISANT, POTAMOGETON, ARBITRAGERS,
 STRUCTURATE, CUNICULATUM (sted)
13 letters: BRADYCARDIACS (sted), CUBO-CUBO-CUBES, MICROSCOPICAL,
 TRIPOLITANIAN, POLYMOLECULAR, LYMPHOMYXOMAS (sted),
 CONFRONTMENTS, STOMAPODIFORM, PERIVERTEBRAL (web2),
 AUTHENTICATED, COUTEQUECOUTE, THYNSTYGACYON
15 letters: CUP-ACQUAINTANCE, HYPERPHENOMENAL, ARCHBISHOPSHIPS,
 ALTITUDINARIANS, MOUNTAINOUSNESS, HEMOCHROMATOTIC (sted),
 LOUP-LOUP-LOUPING, INTRAVERTEBRALS (sted),
 HOUSEMASTERSHIP, SYSTEMATISATION (cham)
17 letters: BUREAUCRATISATION, BRONCHOSCOPICALLY (cham),
 MONTICULIPORIDEAN (web2), SEVENTEEN-BRANCHED,
 LEPTOSTROMIFORMIS, PLEUROPERICARDIAL, ELECTROSTRICTIVES
19 letters: MORPHINOMIMETICALLY (sted), HYPOCRATERIMORPHOUS

 (g) Pattern * X 4 X 4 X *
 No words found for B, D, F, G, J, K, P, Q, W and X.

13 letters: MATHEMATICIAN, DECONSECRATES, WHERE-THROUGHE,
 LIBRARIANSHIP, PLASMOLYSABLE, OMENTUMECTOMY (sted),
 INSEMINATIONS, COMMEMORATION, TRANSGRESSORS,
 PSEUDO-SPANISH, STEENSTRUPITE, QUASIHUMOROUS (web2),
 HYDROXYMETHYL
15 letters: QUADRICAPSULATE, ARCHITECTONICAL, OVERASSERTIVELY (web2),
 CHINKERINGCHING, CONTRAINDICANTS, PROTEMPORANEOUS (web2),
 PERIPHERONEURAL (web2), DISILLUSIONISER, IATROMATHEMATIC,
 CHURCH-FURNITURE
17 letters: CHOANOFLAGELLATES, STREPTOSEPTICEMIC (sted),
 MEDICO-CHIRURGICAL, COUNTER-INFLUENCES, FUSOSPIROCHETOTIC
 (sted), HYDROSPIROMETRICS (sted), PREVENTIVE-SERVICE,
 BENZENEAZOBENZENE (rh)
19 letters: AUTOCHOLECYSTECTOMY (web2), CHORIONEPITHELIOMAS (sted),
 NEUROFIBROSARCOMATA (sted)

 (h) Pattern * X 5 X 5 X *
 No words found for B, F, G, J, K, M, Q, V, W, X, Y and Z.

15 letters: CAMPTODACTYLIAS (sted), ACANTHOCYTOTICS (sted),
 LEPIDODENDRALES (opc), RHEOTACHYGRAPHY (sted),
 VICE-ADMIRALSHIP, ULTRAMELANCHOLY (web2),
 UNCOMMUNICATING, NONEXPLOITATION (web2), ARCHSACRIFICERS,
 PSEUDOISOMERISM (web2), STRAIGHT-JACKETS, CUBITO-CUTANEOUS
17 letters: TRACHEOLARYNGEALS (sted), NEDERLANDSCH-INDIE,
 OVERMASTERFULNESS, MONOETHANOLAMINES, CHOLANGIOHEPATOMA
 (sted), NEPHROHYPERTROPHY (web2), AUTOKERATOPLASTIC (sted)
19 letters: HEPATOMELANOTICALLY, HEMISPHERICOCONICAL,
 ZYGOMATICOSPHENOIDS (sted), DEATH-COUNTERFEITING
21 letters: HYDROPNEUMOPERITONEUM (sted), ELECTROCAUTERIZATIONS (sted)
23 letters: LIPOCALCIGRANULOMATOSES (sted), PHENYLPROPYLMETHYLAMINE
 (sted)
25 letters: PSYCHONEUROENDOCRINOLOGIC

 (i) Pattern * X 6 X 6 X *
 No words found for B, D, F, G, J, K, M, P, Q, R, S, T, V,
 W, X, Y and Z.

17 letters: MARINE-DRAUGHTSMAN, ACTINOBACILLOTICS (sted),
 JEJUNOILEOSTOMIES, PHYSICOPHILOSOPHY, MICROANGIOGRAPHIC
 (sted), GLYCOSIALORRHEALS (sted), INFLATION-PROOFING,
 ROISTER-DOISTERDOM, QUASI-SIMULTANEOUS

 (j) Pattern * X 7 X 7 X *

19 letters: HEPATOSPLENOGRAPHED (sted), RHEOENCEPHALOGRAPHS (sted)

 (k) Pattern * X ? X ? X ? X *

 9 letters: CATAMARAN, BEJEWELED (web2), VISIBILIA, LOCOMOTOR,
 SURUIUOUR
11 letters: SMARAGADANE, FLEMENEFERD, ELIGIBILITY, GNOMONOLOGY,
12 letters: BALSAMEACEAE (web2), DESCENDENCES (web2), KIDDIEWINKIE,
 INCONVENIENT, BOREOTROPHON (tf), ASBESTOS-BASE (cham)
13 letters: MISERERE-SEATS, PEDONOSOLOGIC (sted)
14 letters: UNEXPECTEDNESS, LEIBNITZIANISM, CITRO-TARTRATES
15 letters: WEATHER-BLEACHED, NICOTINOMIMETIC (sted), ALVEOLOPALATALS
 (sted|)
16 letters: DISADVANTAGEABLY, ON-AENGENAEMHEYDT
17 letters: GRANULATOCAPITATE, DIOECIODIMORPHOUS
18 letters: IATROMATHEMATICIAN, AEROPIESOTHERAPIES (sted),
 CYSTOPROCTOSTOMIES (sted)
19 letters: HYPERTHERMOESTHETIC (sted)

 (l) Pattern * X ? X ? X ? X ? X *

11 letters: RASANAYAGAM, TELEMETERED, DIVISIBILIS
13 letters: ELIGIBILITIES
15 letters: PERVERTEDNESSES (web2), INCONVENIENCING, COLLODION-COTTON
17 letters: INEXPERIENCEDNESS, CONDENSING-ENGINES

 (m) Pattern * X ? X ? X ? X ? X ? X *

13 letters: TARAMASALATAS

TYPE 2 Single letters not equally-spaced in the word

 (a) Pattern X ? X ? X ? X

 8 letters: ARAUCANA, EYEPIECE, SYSTASIS
 9 letters: ATHABASKA, CONCYCLIC EBENACEAE, GONGAGENG, HACHSHISH,
 OGBOMOSHO, SUSPENSES
10 letters: ANATHEMATA, EVERYWHERE, SYSTEMISES
11 letters: ANAMNIONATA, ELEAGNACEAE, HEATHTHRUSH, KNICKAKNOCK,
 YMAGYNYNGLY
12 letters: ACCIACCATURA (cham), EVIDENCEABLE, LIGULIFLORAL (cham),
 REVERBERATOR, SYSTEMATISES
13 letters: EXPERGISCENCE, PIMPERLIMPIMP, READER-PRINTER,
 WINDOWSWALLOW
14 letters: ACANTHOCEPHALA, ELECTROPHORESE, THROSTLE-THROAT
15 letters: SERORESISTANCES
16 letters: ABRACHIOCEPHALIA (sted), SINISTROTORSIONS (sted)
17 letters: TRANSIT-INSTRUMENT
18 letters: EMPLOYMENT-EXCHANGE

 (b) Pattern X ? X - X - X ? X

11 letters: ABRACADABRA, ANAPLASMATA (sted)
15 letters: REFRIGERATOR-CAR
23 letters: TRANSUBSTANTIATIONALIST

 (c) Pattern * X ? X - X ? X *

10 letters: PAPALOAPAN, REMEMBERED, DISINHIBIT, MONOTROPOS (cham),
 ISOSTASIST (web2), TUMULTUOUS
11 letters: SANTALACEAE (dfpf), REPREHENDED, VIOLINISTIC, UNTENANTING,
 NON-ORTHODOX
12 letters: RHABARBARATE, PRETENSELESS, BIPINNATIFID, TRIVIALITIES,
 UNENLIVENING, PROTOBIOLOGY
13 letters: PAREIASAURIAN, PRINCIPIATION, GEOMORPHOLOGY
14 letters: HALICARNASSIAN (coll), SARRACENIACEAE (dfpf)
 PREVENTIVENESS, SPIRITUALIZING, UNENTERTAINING,
 ENDODONTOLOGIC
15 letters: PHARMACOMANIACS, INTERDEPENDENCY, UNINQUISITORIAL,
 UNCONDESCENDING, ISOCOTYLEDONOUS (dbs)
16 letters: TRANSCARBAMYLASE, SALICYLSALICYLIC, NEUROMUSCULATURE
18 letters: CHONDROSARCOMATOUS, HYPERLEPTOPROSOPIC

 (d) Pattern * X ? X - X - X ? X *

13 letters: SARDANAPALIAN, PALAIYAKKARAN, LEVEL-TEMPERED,
 REPLETENESSES (web2)

 (e) Pattern * X ? X - X - X - X ? X *

17 letters: PROCTOCOLONOSCOPE

TYPE 3 Doubled letters only - equally-spaced in the word

 (a) Pattern X X ? X X

 6 letters: EE-BREE, OODLOO
 7 letters: DDOFYDD, LLOGELL (nwd), OOJIBOO
 8 letters: EERSANEE, LLAN-MILL (bar)
 9 letters: LLYFRGELL ((nwd)
11 letters: LLANFECHELL (bar)
12 letters: LLANSTADWELL (bar)
17 letters: LLANFAIR-YN-NEUBWLL (tig)

 (b) Pattern * X X 1 X X *
 See ... B. SETS OF 2 OR MORE DIFFERENT LETTERS
 SYMMETRICALLY-ARRANGED

Type 4 (b) Groups of 5 letters

 (c) Pattern * X X 2 X X *

 8 letters: VAALHAAI, ODD-LADDY, PEETWEET, EGG-NOGGS, ILL-WILLY,
 BOOKHOOD
10 letters: MACCIOCCHI, GREENWEEDS, FULLFILLED, WANNTONNES,
 BROOD-GOOSE, SOPPCUPPAN, FORRWERRPE, DISSEISSEE
 (a triangle word: 4321), OUT-TROTTTED
12 letters: SHELL-FILLING, CROSS-KISSING
20 letters: MESIOBUCCO-OCCLUSALLY (sted)

 (d) Pattern * X X 3 X X *

 9 letters: KAAPENAAR, FEED-WHEEL, ILLEGALLY, INNE-PINNE, GOODEROON,
 ITTY-BITTY
11 letters: HUBBA-HUBBAS, GODDY-GODDEN, DULLSVILLES, KINNAKINNEC,
 BLOOD-GROOVE, JIPPI-JAPPAS, CORROBORREE, CUTTHROTTIS
13 letters: CHUFF-CHUFFING, SPILLSPILLING, EVER-RECURRING
15 letters: ROSETTE-PATTERNS

 (e) Pattern * X X 4 X X *

10 letters: NAACHT-MAAL, BEECH-GREEN, ALLICHOLLY, TOOTH-PROOF
12 letters: JIBBER-JABBER, FEDDIRBEDDIS, HAFFLE-CAFFLE(EDD),
 HUGGERMUGGER, HOLLOW-BILLED, HUMMEL-BUMMEL, JINNY-SPINNER,
 SHOOFLEBOORD, COPPER-TOPPED, HIRRIE-HARRIE, TUSSIE-MUSSIE,
 PITTER-PATTER, TUZZIEMUZZIE
14 letters: CHIFFON-TAFFETA, SHILLY-SHALLYER, CHANNEL-TUNNELS,
 PRETTY-PRETTIES (cham)

 (f) Pattern * X X 5 X X *

11 letters: KEEPING-BEER, ILLOGICALLY, FOOTMANHOOD
13 letters: HUBBLE-SHUBBLE, MODDLEY-CODDLE, SHEELING-SEEDS,
 RIFFLE-SHUFFLE, WELL-TRAVELLED, BROODING-ROOMS,
 COPPICE-TOPPED, FERROSO-FERRIC, PASSIONLESSLY,
 PATTERN-CUTTER
15 letters: TWIDDLE-TWADDLES, WHIFFLE-WHAFFLES (edd),
 WHIPPER-SNAPPERS, CHITTER-CHATTERS
17 letters: FIFTEEN-SIXTEENTHS (maths books)

 (g) Pattern * X X 6 X X *

12 letters: ZAAGMOLENAAR, ELLIPTICALLY
14 letters: WELL-APPARELLED
16 letters: FLIBBERTI-GIBBETS, SHIMMERY-WHIMMERY, STANNOSO-STANNICS,
 DRIPPITY-DROPPITY, KNOTTING-SHUTTLES

 (h) Pattern * X X 7 X X *

13 letters: ALLEGORICALLY, FOOLHARDIHOOD
15 letters: FELLOW-TRAVELLER, PASSENGER-VESSEL

 (i) Pattern * X X 8 X X *

14 letters: FEEDING-LINSEED, ALLOPATHICALLY, GOOSEBERRY-FOOL,
 APPRENTISHIPPPE
16 letters: FIDDLE-COME-FADDLE, BLOOD-SISTERHOODS

 (j) Pattern * X X 9 X X *

15 letters: ALLOPSYCHICALLY (sted), FOOT-AND-HALF-FOOT,
 ASSEHEADDINESSE
17 letters: BURROWING-SQUIRREL

 (k) Pattern * X X 10 X X *

16 letters: ALLOISOMERICALLY (sted)

 (l) Pattern * X X 11 X X *

17 letters: ALLOGOTROPHICALLY (sted)

 (m) Pattern * X X 12 X X *

18 letters: ELLIPTOCYTOTICALLY (sted)

 (n) Pattern * X X 13 X X *

19 letters: ALLOTRIOMORPHICALLY

 (o) Pattern * X X ? X X ? X X *


These words are rare. Instead of looking for different lengths of word for the same doubled letter as previously, I concentrated on looking for words of any length representing as many different doubled letters as possible. In the event, I found words for the letters B, E, G, L O and T:
 HUBBUBBUBBOO, BEEVEEDEES, WAGGERPAGGERBAGGER, PILL-WILL-WILLET,
 ROOCOOROOS, RAT-TAT-TATTED

 (p) Pattern * X X ? X X ? X X ? X X *


These words are even rarer!

PEEKEENEENEES

TYPE 4 Doubled letters and Single letters
 (a) Pattern X * X X * X

 6 letters: ANAATA (cdz), COCCIC (ospd), DODDED, EMEERE, MIMMAM (daw),
 NUNNAN, PIP-POP, SUSSES, TIT-TAT
 8 letters: CRIC-CRAC, DRIDDLED, ENFEEBLE, GLUGGING, HOCHHUTH (bt),
 PLIP-PLOP, SCISSORS, TRIT-TROT
10 letters: KNICK-KNACK, LOCAL-LEVEL, STRESSINGS, THYRTTYEST,
12 letters: DRUG-ADDICTED (web2), MONOAMMONIUM (web2), SUCCESSARIES,
14 letters: SOUL-MASSE-CAKES, SCHEPYSSKYNNES
16 letters: LINEAR-ELLIPTICAL, SULTANESS-MOTHERS

 (b) Pattern * X ? X X ? X *

 8 letters: KALA-AZAR (cham), VENEERED, DOG-OOT-OV, STATTUTE
10 letters: MASHA'ALLAH, KESKEEDIES, UNCONNYING, NEOZOOLOGY
12 letters: UNREDEEMEDLY, ANCIENNEMENT
14 letters: OVERGREEDINESS (web2), CHONDRO-OSSEOUS (Sted)
16 letters: YOUNG-MANNISHNESS, PALAEOZOOLOGISTS, EXTRATERRITORIAL
18 letters: COUNTER-ATTRACTIONS

 (c) Pattern * X X ? X ? X X *

 9 letters: ODDY-DODDY (daw), ULLALULLA (ww71170)
11 letters: NEEDLE-TREES

TYPE 5 A Central Symmetrical group of 3 or more identical letters

 M-A-A-AH, CYDDDYN (nwd -Y is also symmetrical), SEEER,
 PFFFFFFFT, BOI-I-ING, FRILLLESS, COMMMON (O is also
 symmetrical), SEFENNNAHHT, LOOOK, PERR'RIE, PRESS-STUD,
 PRATT-TYPE, AWWWWH

B. SETS OF 2 OR MORE DIFFERENT LETTERS SYMMETRICALLY-ARRANGED

TYPE 1 Single letters only (words which start with a
symmetrical letter are listed first)

 (a) 2 different letters
 CHOLANGIOPANCREATOGRAPHIC (sted), DYSTRYBUTYD, EDELREDE,
 EPIMERITE, NAHUATLAN, RETRORSER, RIVER-DRIVER, SCLERECTATICS
 (sted), STEPSISTERS, SULPHUREOUS CAESAREAN,
 HYSTEROTHERMOMETRIC (sted), MITHRIDATIC, CHLAMYDOBACTERIALES
 (web2), PROLEGOMENOUS, HYPNOPOMPIC, PREPARATORY,
 POST-DIPHTHERITICS (sted), UNTRUSTWORTHY, MULTITUDINOUS
 (b) 3 different letters
 ACOUSMATAMNESIA, DEMICIVILIZED (web2), DETERIORATED,
 ENDRALAZINE (sted), LEXICOLOGICAL, RED-LEADER, SUBSIDISERS
 WELWITSCHIALES (opc), RESYNCHRONISED (cham), RETICULOCYTES,
 PETROMYZONTES (web2)
 (c) 4 different letters
 DEANTHROPOMORPHIZED, SUPRASYMPHYSARIES (sted)
 ZEBRA-MARKED, CENTILITRES, PROBABILIFICATORY,
 DEXTROSINISTRALLY (web2)

TYPE 2 Doubled letters and Single letters (in alphabetical
order of the doubled letters)

 (a) 2 different letters
 SLIBBER-SLABBERS, PEESE-WEEP, REDEEMER, GRIGGING,
 ALLOCENTRICALLY (sted), CONTROLLERSHIP, SHOOTING-BOOTS
 SNIPPER-SNAPPERS, SELF-CORRECTING, GLASS-EMBOSSING,
 SUBOSSEOUS, SPITTER-SPATTERS, STATTITS
 (b) 3 different letters
 SKIDDADDLES, SLEEVEENS, ALLODIPLOIDALLY (sted), COASSESSION
 (c) 4 different letters
 DISCOMMONSED

TYPE 3 Two Symmetrical letter groups (words with no
doubled letters are listed first)

 (a) The 2 letter groups are embedded in the word
 Groups of 3 letters:
 TARANTARAS, HETEROGAMETES, UNINTERVENING,
 WELL-SKILLED, CRISS-CROSSING, COOLING-FLOOR
 Groups of 4 letters:
 QUINOCARBONIUM (web2)
 MOCCOMOCCOS, KINNIKINNIC, LETTER-BY-LETTER
 Groups of 5 letters:
 HEEBEE-JEEBEES, COONOOMOONOOS
 (b) The 2 letter groups form the beginning and end of the word
 These are all examples of reverse Heads `n Tails
 Groups of 3 letters:
 AISTHESIA (cham), DETONATED, ETAMSYLATE (sted), LACONICAL,
 MARCONIGRAM, NITROGELATIN (web2), REVOLVER, SANTOLINAS,
 TERSULPHURET (web2), VITUPERATIV (web2), XYLOCALYX (dfpf)
 PEESWEEP, FOOLPROOF, SUUMPTUUS,
 Groups of 4 letters:
 CIBOPHOBIC (sted), DE-REGISTERED, DESINGULARISED (sg)
 RE-ENGINEER

TYPE 4 A Central Symmetrical group of 5 or more letters
(alphabetically by group)

 (a) Single letters only
 Groups of 5 letters:
 BARTRAM, DEBATABLY, ACIDICS (sted), INDEXEDLY (sg), VEINIER
 (ospd), FUNGOLOGIST, CHALAHS (ospd), MITOTIC, OKAZAKI,
 PLUMULE, ALBUMINIMETRY (web2), KNIFING, COPEPOD, BUMPOSOPHER,
 BREWERY, DYSPEPSIA, UTILITY, MUTATUS, AUXOTOXES (sted),
 SYNONYM, BENZALAZINE (web2)
 Groups of 7 letters:
 PACIFICAL, REDIVIDES, KIWI-KIWIS, XENOMOMONIA (nz),
 LOCO-FOCOS, BROWNWORT, BITARTRATES, MURIVIRUS (medical)
 Group of 9 letters:
 BITARTRATIC, PREDIVIDERS (web2)
 (b) Group incorporates 1, 2, 3 or 4 pairs of doubled letters
 Groups of 5 letters:
 BOCCACCIO, PEEWEES, WELL-ALLIE, HOODOOS, DISSESSOR
 Groups of 6 letters:
 UNBARRABLE, HIVE-EVIL, BALILLILOW, SNIFFING, TREKKERS,
 STACCATO
 Groups of 7 letters:
 HULLABALLOO, FOOTSTOOL, POSSESSOR, MOTTETTOS,
 Groups of 8 letters:
 TEYELLEYER (daw), ROOCOOCOOS
 Group of 9 letters:
 BANNALANNAS (fw), WINNININNIE (tig), FEDDEBEDDES
 Group of 11 letters:
 BOONOONOONOOS (dje)
 (c) Doubled letters only
 COOKKOOS


The Symmetry Prize

To which word should the symmetry prize be awarded?

If quantity is the determining factor, then perhaps it should go to those words which boast 5 different symmetrical letters. If so, then SHERIFF-OFFICERS, and any other such words, must take the prize. If, on the other hand, we prefer quality, it must surely go to the 22-letter GASTROESOPHAGOSTOMISED whose two symmetrical letters, O and S, are each represented 4 times. SO, it has my vote!
References for non-OED words

bar Bartholomew Gazetteer of Britain, 1977
bt Bloomsbury Thesaurus, 1993
cdz Collegiate Dictionary of Zoology by R.W. Pennak,
 The Ronald Press Co.
cham Chambers English Dictionary
coll Collins English Dictionary
csd Chambers Scots Dictionary, 1975
daw Dictionary of Archaic Words by J.O. Halliwell,
 Bracken Books 1989
dbs The Dictionary of Bilogical Sciences by Peter Gray, Van
 Nostrand Reinhold 1967
dfpf A Dictionary of the Flowering Plants and Ferns by J.C. Willis,
 7th Edition CUP 1966
dje Dictionary of Jamaican English, Cassidy & Le Page, 1985
edd English Dialect Dictionary
edfc Everyman's Dictionary of Fictional Characters by William
 Freeman, J.M. Dent 1973
fw Funk & Wagnalls Unabridged Dictionary
gdpn A Gardener's Dictionary of Plant Names by William T. Stearn,
 Cassell 1971
nwd The New Welsh Dictionary by H. M. Evans & W.O. Thomas,
 Christopher Davies 1970
nz Nomenclator Zoologicus
opc Outline of Plant Classification by Sandra Holmes
ospd Official Scrabble Players Dictionary
rh The Random House Dictionary
sg from word list with Supergram program for Acorn computers
sted Stedman's Medical Dictionary
tf Tertiary Faunas by A. Morley Davies, George Allen & Unwin 1971
tig The Times Index Gazetteer of the World, 1965
web2 Webster's Second Edition
ww Word Ways


The Best of Verbatim

Verbatim, the language quarterly founded by lexicographer Laurence Urdang in 1974, has entertained its readers with articles about linguistics that are not written in the "impenetrable jargon" of that academic specialty; it has always championed the well-written article as an antidote to professional journals "stuffed with ... turgid obscure, incomprehensibly boring articles". Everyone held their breath when Urdang resigned his editorship in 1997, but fortunately the journal survived the transition, thanks to financial angel Warren Gilson and editor Erin McKean. In a paperback having the same name as the journal, McKean has collected 58 essays, emphasizing such topics as "dictionaries, English usage, popular linguistics, and obscenity, with a large helping of humor."

This 353-page book (ISBN 0-15-60219-x), available from Harcourt (Harvest Books) for $14, is highly recommended to readers of Word Ways. Better yet, consider subscribing for $25 per year to Verbatim, 4907 N Washtenaw Ave, Chicago IL 60625-9933.
SUSAN THORPE
Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, England
(thorpeds@hotmail.com)
COPYRIGHT 2002 Jeremiah Farrell
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Thorpe, Susan
Publication:Word Ways
Geographic Code:4EUUE
Date:Feb 1, 2002
Words:2940
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