July 10th, 2002

hulk

What are these called?

What is it called where you start with a single letter that is a word ('I'), and then you add a letter, and possibly rearrange, to make another word ('IT'), and then you keep going ('TIP', 'PITH', 'PITHY')?

I was scanning some job ads, and kept having my eyes drawn to the word 'DIRECTOR'. I realized that it has all the letters of 'EDITOR' in it. So I spent a few minutes coming up with this, although I mostly worked backwards.

I
ID
DIE
TIED
TIRED
EDITOR
CORDITE
DIRECTOR
DIRECTORY

And I admit that I used the Internet Anagram Server to find 'CORDITE'.
face

The full list

For those interested:

I
ID
DIE
TIED (TIDE, DIET, EDIT)
TIRED (TRIED)
EDITOR
CORDITE
DIRECTOR
DIRECTORY
PREDICTORY
PREDICATORY
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According to the Internet Anagram server, there aren't any more beyond that.

My web search didn't really turn up a name for these. Someone called them word chains, but that was the only place where I found them called that, and it was on someone's Scrabble page. Now, do I write a program to find these in both directions? Or do I spend my time more productively?