to clemp? to climp?
May 21, 2013 8:07 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a set of five verbs in the English language that each A.) have only one vowel and B.) share all the remaining letters in the same order. The closest example I can think of off the top of my head is [bag / beg / bog / bug] but big isn't a verb.

If no such set of five verbs exists I'd be happy to hear of sets of four, or even the sets of three that you can think up. If a set of five nouns exists I'd like to know though I won't be as excited about it. Finally, if you do find a set of five verbs that fit that criteria I'd love to know how you came across them. Just thought about it until you worked it out? Did a web search? Used a program like The Electronic Alveary?
posted by komara to Grab Bag (34 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Pat, pet, pit, pot, put.

Think of a short word with 'u' first.
posted by Segundus at 8:11 AM on May 21, 2013 [4 favorites]

Likewise bat, bit, bet, bot, but.
posted by Andrhia at 8:11 AM on May 21, 2013

Bot and but aren't verbs.
posted by psoas at 8:23 AM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

stamp, stomp, stump
get, git, got, gut
tap, tip, top, tup

Thought of short words with I first. Also I play a lot of Scrabble.
posted by jessamyn at 8:23 AM on May 21, 2013

pan, pen, pin, pun.
posted by dfan at 8:25 AM on May 21, 2013

"but" is not a verb, is it? And "bot" is not really a verb in standard English.

Here's a set of five using some non-standard usages:

lag, leg, lig, log, lug
posted by mbrubeck at 8:26 AM on May 21, 2013

pall, pell, pill, poll, pull

Some of these words are sort of obscure and you might not consider them words. Do you want common verbs or just anything that has a verb option even if it's unusual?
posted by jessamyn at 8:27 AM on May 21, 2013

(I got that by grepping through a wordlist for short words with 'u' and then doing some manual scanning and cross-checking.)
posted by mbrubeck at 8:27 AM on May 21, 2013

shat shet shit shot shut
posted by Elly Vortex at 8:29 AM on May 21, 2013

Response by poster: "Do you want common verbs or just anything that has a verb option even if it's unusual?"

Honestly I was just looking at a box of cat litter this morning, saw the word "clumping" and thought, "clamp clemp climp clomp clump" and that led to this question. If it's verbs, I'm in.
posted by komara at 8:32 AM on May 21, 2013 [5 favorites]

Best answer: pick, pack, pock, peck, puck
the verb 'puck' apparently means to hit the ball in the game of hurling
posted by pipeski at 8:33 AM on May 21, 2013

chaw chew chow
posted by mefireader at 8:33 AM on May 21, 2013

sap, sip, sop, sup
posted by nakedmolerats at 8:34 AM on May 21, 2013

mass, mess, miss, moss, muss
posted by xchmp at 8:34 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

bend, bind, band, bond
posted by pipeski at 8:35 AM on May 21, 2013

mash mesh mosh mush
posted by mefireader at 8:36 AM on May 21, 2013

lack, lick, lock, luck
posted by Falwless at 8:36 AM on May 21, 2013

Best answer: clack cleck click clock cluck
posted by cincinnatus c at 8:45 AM on May 21, 2013

ace, age, ape, are, ate, ave, awe
posted by frecklefaerie at 8:55 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh, I just thought of them. I thought of "ate" and "are" then alphabetically found the rest.

The nouny ones do work as verbs.
posted by frecklefaerie at 8:57 AM on May 21, 2013

Response by poster: frecklefaerie: sorry, you've got it backwards. One vowel per word, hold the consonants constant and rotate through vowels.
posted by komara at 9:01 AM on May 21, 2013

Well, here is a list of all 3-letter words with a vowel in the middle, where each vowel makes a Scrabble-valid word.

Not sure how best to check the part of speech of each word (at least not in Matlab, which is what I did this with as a first pass).
posted by supercres at 9:01 AM on May 21, 2013

Sorry; not Scrabble-valid. English dictionary. Rerunning with OSPD.
posted by supercres at 9:03 AM on May 21, 2013

Ok. Reran, and included 4-letter words where the first, second, or third letter is a vowel. (Only 4-letter words with the second letter a vowel had words for all five vowels.)

There is some overlap here.

Forgive me if this takes all the fun out of it.

bad, bed, bid, bod, bud
bag, beg, big, bog, bug
bas, bes, bis, bos, bus
bat, bet, bit, bot, but
dan, den, din, don, dun
fan, fen, fin, fon, fun
far, fer, fir, for, fur
gat, get, git, got, gut
hap, hep, hip, hop, hup
hat, het, hit, hot, hut
mad, med, mid, mod, mud
mag, meg, mig, mog, mug
nab, neb, nib, nob, nub
pap, pep, pip, pop, pup
pat, pet, pit, pot, put
ram, rem, rim, rom, rum
tan, ten, tin, ton, tun
tat, tet, tit, tot, tut
bads, beds, bids, bods, buds
ball, bell, bill, boll, bull
band, bend, bind, bond, bund
bats, bets, bits, bots, buts
care, cere, cire, core, cure
cate, cete, cite, cote, cute
dans, dens, dins, dons, duns
dare, dere, dire, dore, dure
fans, fens, fins, fons, funs
hack, heck, hick, hock, huck
haed, heed, hied, hoed, hued
hats, hets, hits, hots, huts
last, lest, list, lost, lust
mads, meds, mids, mods, muds
mags, megs, migs, mogs, mugs
mall, mell, mill, moll, mull
mare, mere, mire, more, mure
mass, mess, miss, moss, muss

posted by supercres at 9:34 AM on May 21, 2013

Whoops, a few got cut off:

mate, mete, mite, mote, mute
nabs, nebs, nibs, nobs, nubs
pack, peck, pick, pock, puck
pale, pele, pile, pole, pule
pans, pens, pins, pons, puns
paps, peps, pips, pops, pups
pats, pets, pits, pots, puts
rack, reck, rick, rock, ruck
rams, rems, rims, roms, rums
tale, tele, tile, tole, tule
tans, tens, tins, tons, tuns
tats, tets, tits, tots, tuts
Done now, I promise.

posted by supercres at 9:48 AM on May 21, 2013

Just to complete superces' list, here are all of the sets of five or more, generated by a case-insensitive shell script scan of /usr/share/dict/words.
bally belly billy bolly bully
chack check chick chock chuck
clack cleck click clock cluck
fally felly filly folly fully
gally gelly gilly golly gully
massy messy missy mossy mussy
nabby nebby nibby nobby nubby
pappy peppy pippy poppy puppy
snack sneck snick snock snuck
stang steng sting stong stung
stark sterk stirk stork sturk
sprang spreng spring sprong sprung
strang streng string strong strung

posted by rlk at 9:52 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

lamp, limp, lump—"to lamp" is a verb in Urban Dictionary, at least.
posted by limeonaire at 10:36 AM on May 21, 2013

Response by poster: novalis_dt: that is exactly the kind of tool I was looking for but wasn't sure existed. Thanks!
posted by komara at 7:36 PM on May 21, 2013

Response by poster: Also, I'm glad to see there weren't 100 solutions immediately so I don't feel too dumb for not having come up with one myself.
posted by komara at 7:36 PM on May 21, 2013

While everyone else arrived earlier with examples, I thought I could still share the code I used (python on unix)

Get a list of words as a set:
>>> s = set(open("/usr/share/dict/words").read().split("\n"))

Filter out proper words and ones with apostrophes:
>>> s = set(i for i in s if i.lower() == i and not "'" in i)

Filter out all the ones with not exactly one vowel
>>> s = set(i for i in s if sum(i.count(c) for c in "aeiou") == 1)

Define a function to remove the vowel from a word
>>> import re
>>> def devowel(s): return re.sub("[aeiou]", "", s)

Create a collection that has all words that are the same but for one vowel:
>>> import collections
>>> k = collections.defaultdict(set)
>>> for i in s: k[devowel(i)].add(i)

Look of all the sets of exactly five words:
>>> for i in [i for i in k if len(k[i]) == 5]: print k[i]
set(['a', 'i', 'e', 'u', 'o'])
set(['tens', 'tans', 'tons', 'tins', 'tuns'])
set(['imp', 'mop', 'ump', 'amp', 'map'])
set(['did', 'dud', 'add', 'odd', 'dad'])
set(['own', 'wan', 'won', 'wen', 'win'])
set(['bills', 'bulls', 'bolls', 'balls', 'bells'])
set(['on', 'no', 'an', 'nu', 'in'])
set(['pops', 'pips', 'peps', 'pups', 'paps'])
set(['not', 'ant', 'net', 'nut', 'nit'])
set(['muss', 'mess', 'mass', 'moss', 'miss'])
set(['lest', 'last', 'lust', 'list', 'lost'])
set(['bell', 'bill', 'boll', 'ball', 'bull'])
set(['packs', 'pucks', 'pecks', 'pocks', 'picks'])
set(['is', 'so', 'as', 'es', 'us'])
set(['peck', 'puck', 'pock', 'pack', 'pick'])
set(['tan', 'tin', 'ton', 'ten', 'tun'])
set(['amps', 'maps', 'imps', 'umps', 'mops'])
set(['sings', 'snugs', 'snags', 'sangs', 'songs'])
set(['pap', 'pup', 'pip', 'pep', 'pop'])
set(['bug', 'bag', 'beg', 'big', 'bog'])
set(['ohms', 'hems', 'hums', 'hims', 'hams'])
set(['his', 'has', 'ohs', 'hos', 'hes'])
set(['ohm', 'hum', 'ham', 'him', 'hem'])

Look at all the sets of more than five words:
>>> for i in [i for i in k if len(k[i]) > 5]: print k[i]
set(['me', 'em', 'ma', 'mi', 'um', 'am', 'mu'])
set(['slot', 'silt', 'slat', 'slut', 'slit', 'salt'])
set(['sluts', 'slits', 'silts', 'slots', 'slats', 'salts'])
set(['sops', 'sups', 'asps', 'sips', 'spas', 'saps'])
set(['song', 'snag', 'sang', 'snug', 'sing', 'sung'])
set(['sip', 'sop', 'asp', 'sup', 'spa', 'sap'])
set(['pats', 'puts', 'pits', 'pots', 'pets', 'opts'])
set(['fir', 'fur', 'for', 'far', 'fro', 'fer'])
set(['opt', 'pat', 'pet', 'pot', 'apt', 'put', 'pit'])
set(['he', 'eh', 'oh', 'ah', 'hi', 'uh', 'ha', 'ho'])

Groups of more than five are possible because my program doesn't hold the position of the vowel constant, so that "ohm" and "hum" get lumped together as consisting of "hm" with one vowel inserted.

When I have word puzzles where a number of steps are needed to arrive at an answer, Python is one of the first places I turn. I didn't use it in this example, but there's "wordnet" which among many other things lets you get a list of english verbs to start from rather than a full english dictionary. This is the wrong way to use wordnet data in Python, but it works:
>>> s = [i for i in open("/usr/share/wordnet/index.verb").read().split("\n")]
>>> s = [i.split()[0] for i in s if i.strip()]
>>> # other steps as before
>>> for i in [i for i in k if len(k[i]) >= 5]: print k[i]
set(['opt', 'pat', 'pet', 'pot', 'put', 'pit'])
set(['slot', 'silt', 'slat', 'salt', 'slit'])

on reflection and ctrl-f it looks like these are both new combinations not already anticipated, but they both move the vowel around so maybe they don't count. And who has ever used "slat" as a verb anyway. "I totally slatted those blinds".
posted by jepler at 7:56 PM on May 21, 2013

pack peck pick pock puck?

(I'm sure I could make the case for puck as a verb if i had to.)
posted by loveyallaround at 9:24 PM on May 21, 2013

Arrgh! I swear I did not see it above! And I can't figure out how to delete.
posted by loveyallaround at 9:27 PM on May 21, 2013

clep ("to slap a hoe with the fingers of closed fist"
clop (what a horse does)
posted by third rail at 2:45 PM on May 26, 2013

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