Although the English language has more than one million words, only about thirty words possess a very unique quality: you can successively take a letter away — while leaving the other letters in the exact same order — and they form a different word. This is called a successive letter subtraction word puzzle. Here is an example:

“startling”

Subtract the “t” and you get “starling”

Subtract the “l” and you get “staring”

Subtract the “a” and you get “string”

Subtract the “r” and you get “sting”

Subtract the “s” and you get “ting”

Subtract the “g” and you get “tin”

Subtract the “t” and you get “in”

Finally, subtract the “n” and you get “i” [the pronoun, “I”]

Fun isn’t it? OK, so now that you understand this form of word puzzle, what are some other words that can do this? And please, no cheating — what’s the fun if you let Google do all the puzzle solving.

Answers appear below.

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Here is a list of words that form a unique words, when you successively remove one letter at a time.

cleansers: cleanses, cleanse, cleans, leans, leas, las, as, a

discusses: discuses, discuss, discus, discs, diss, dis, is, i

drownings: drowning, downing, owning, owing, wing, win, in, i

grandeurs: grandeur, grander, grader, grade, grad, rad, ad, a

groupings: grouping, groping, roping, oping, ping, pig, pi, i

paintings: painting, paining, pining, piing, ping, pig, pi, i

piercings: piercing, piecing, pieing, piing, ping, pig, pi, i

prattlers: rattlers, ratters, raters, rates, rats, rat, at, a

prickling: pickling, picking, piking, piing, ping, pig, pi, i

restarted: restated, restate, estate, state, sate, ate, at, a

scrapping: crapping, rapping, raping, aping, ping, pig, pi, i

shoppings: shopping, hopping, hoping, oping, ping, pig, pi, i

sparkling: sparking, sparing, spring, sprig, prig, pig, pi, i

spinnings: spinning, pinning, pining, piing, ping, pig, pi, i

splatters: platters, latters, lattes, latte, late, ate, at, a

splitting: slitting, sitting, siting, sting, ting, tin, in, i

spritzers: spritzes, sprites, spites, sites, sits, its, is, i

stampeded: stampede, stamped, tamped, tamed, tame, tam, am, a

stampedes: stampede, stamped, tamped, tamed, tame, tam, am, a

starlings: starling, staring, string, sting, ting, tin, in, i

startling: starling, staring, string, sting, ting, tin, in, i

strapping: trapping, rapping, raping, aping, ping, pig, pi, i

stringers: stingers, singers, singes, sines, sins, ins, is, i

stringier: stingier, stinger, singer, singe, sine, sin, in, i

switchers: switches, witches, withes, withe, wite, wit, it, i

tramplers: trampers, tampers, tamers, tames, tams, tam, am, a

trampling: tramping, tamping, taping, aping, ping, pig, pi, i

trappings: trapping, rapping, raping, aping, ping, pig, pi, i

wrappings: wrapping, rapping, raping, aping, ping, pig, pi, i

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Read related posts: How Long Does it Take to Read a Million Words?

How Many Words in the English Language?

How Many Words Does the Average Person Speak in a Lifetime?

For further reading: *Wordplay: A Curious Dictionary of Language Oddities* by Chris Cole

https://www.quora.com/What-eight-letter-word-can-have-a-letter-taken-away-and-it-still-makes-a-word

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