Large Anagram Families – Potential Scrabble Words

Continuing the theme of our prior post, here are a couple of the larger anagram families we’ve found in the Enable dictionary (used for online scrabble games and hangman games). Note: a few of the words in these sets are unusual words, so take the time to look them up before playing them in a game…

By anagram familes, we are talking about groups of words which are anagrams of each other – if you have the letters for one word, you have the letters for the others. For those of you who play Scrabble, these are a good source of word ideas.

For those of you who want to have a little fun, how many anagrams of each of the following can you name?

  • Spare
  • Alerts
  • Earrings
  • Aspen
  • Parsec

[Answers After The Break – Stop Here If You’re Trying To Guess The Words]

These were derived using a little python script – we built a lookup table using letter frequencies (quick hack – sort letters of the word into alphabetical order – gives you a unique key and requires minimal additional gyrations). We noted where multiple words shared the same letters and thus… identified the anagram familes!

The largest set of anagrams was:
SPARE (for when you need words to spare)? 12 Entries in the Enable dictionary…

  • apers, apres, asper, pares, parse, pears, prase, presa, rapes, reaps, spare, spear

Working our way down the list:

Sets of 11 anagrams:

  • alerts, alters, artels, estral, laster, ratels, salter, slater, staler, stelar, talers

Sets of 10 anagrams:

  • least, setal, slate, stale, steal, stela, taels, tales, teals, tesla

Sets of 9 anagrams (many words in this batch were uncommon):

  • palest, palets, pastel, petals, plates, pleats, septal, staple, tepals
  • capers, crapes, escarp, pacers, parsec, recaps, scrape, secpar, spacer
  • estrin, inerts, insert, inters, niters, nitres, sinter, triens, trines
  • anestri, antsier, nastier, ratines, retains, retinas, retsina, stainer, stearin

Sets of 8 anagrams – the first one looks particularly useful for scrabble:

  • ates, east, eats, etas, sate, seat, seta, teas
  • arles, earls, lares, laser, lears, rales, reals, seral
  • lapse, leaps, pales, peals, pleas, salep, sepal, spale
  • peris, piers, pries, prise, ripes, speir, spier, spire
  • enters, nester, renest, rentes, resent, tenser, ternes, treens
  • carets, cartes, caster, caters, crates, reacts, recast, traces
  • aspers, parses, passer, prases, repass, spares, sparse, spears
  • earings, erasing, gainers, reagins, regains, reginas, searing, seringa

And – finally – sets of Seven anagrams, first ones are good scrabble words:

  • ares, arse, ears, eras, rase, sear, sera
  • aril, lair, lari, liar, lira, rail, rial
  • arils, lairs, laris, liars, liras, rails, rials
  • emits, items, metis, mites, smite, stime, times
  • acres, cares, carse, escar, races, scare, serac
  • caret, carte, cater, crate, react, recta, trace
  • leapt, lepta, palet, petal, plate, pleat, tepal
  • abets, baste, bates, beast, beats, betas, tabes
  • resaw, sawer, sewar, sware, swear, wares, wears
  • laves, salve, selva, slave, vales, valse, veals
  • aspen, napes, neaps, panes, peans, sneap, spean
  • deist, diets, dites, edits, sited, stied, tides
  • amens, manes, manse, means, mensa, names, nemas
  • paste, pates, peats, septa, spate, tapes, tepas
  • ester, reest, reset, steer, stere, terse, trees
  • armets, master, maters, matres, ramets, stream, tamers
  • lavers, ravels, salver, serval, slaver, velars, versal
  • canter, carnet, centra, nectar, recant, tanrec, trance
  • merits, mister, miters, mitres, remits, smiter, timers
  • cruets, cruset, curets, eructs, rectus, recuts, truces
  • ariled, derail, dialer, laired, railed, redial, relaid
  • poster, presto, repots, respot, stoper, topers, tropes
  • arrest, rarest, raster, raters, starer, tarres, terras
  • nestor, noters, stoner, tenors, tensor, toners, trones
  • pinots, pintos, piston, pitons, points, postin, spinto
  • algins, aligns, lasing, liangs, ligans, lingas, signal
  • enosis, eosins, essoin, noesis, noises, ossein, sonsie
  • ardebs, bardes, beards, breads, debars, sabred, serdab
  • drapes, padres, parsed, rasped, spader, spared, spread
  • aridest, astride, diaster, disrate, staider, tardies, tirades
  • empires, emprise, epimers, imprese, premies, premise, spireme
  • artiest, artiste, attires, iratest, ratites, striate, tastier
  • canters, carnets, nectars, recants, scanter, tanrecs, trances
  • elastin, entails, nailset, salient, saltine, slainte, tenails
  • esprits, persist, priests, spriest, sprites, stirpes, stripes
  • estrous, oestrus, ousters, sourest, souters, stoures, tussore
  • angriest, astringe, ganister, gantries, granites, ingrates, rangiest

Six Anagrams in a Set –  some nice ones for scrabble – particularly the 3 – 5 letter sets:

  • opts, post, pots, spot, stop, tops
  • staw, swat, taws, twas, wast, wats
  • stow, swot, tows, twos, wost, wots
  • alert, alter, artel, later, ratel, taler
  • mates, meats, satem, steam, tames, teams
  • ardeb, barde, bared, beard, bread, debar
  • riots, rotis, tiros, torsi, trios, trois
  • parts, prats, sprat, strap, tarps, traps
  • hales, heals, leash, selah, shale, sheal
  • notes, onset, seton, steno, stone, tones
  • piles, plies, slipe, speil, spiel, spile
  • inset, neist, nites, senti, stein, tines
  • cruet, curet, cuter, eruct, recut, truce
  • deils, delis, idles, isled, sidle, slide
  • ashed, deash, hades, heads, sadhe, shade
  • acred, arced, cadre, cared, cedar, raced
  • diols, idols, lidos, sloid, soldi, solid
  • leets, sleet, steel, stele, teels, teles
  • pores, poser, prose, repos, ropes, spore
  • deers, drees, redes, reeds, seder, sered
  • airts, astir, sitar, stair, stria, tarsi
  • dater, derat, rated, tared, trade, tread
  • reins, resin, rinse, risen, serin, siren
  • peers, perse, prees, prese, speer, spree
  • bares, baser, bears, braes, saber, sabre
  • rosets, sorest, stores, torses, tosser, tsores
  • bluest, bluets, bustle, butles, sublet, subtle
  • eviler, levier, liever, relive, revile, veiler
  • leasts, slates, stales, steals, tassel, teslas
  • esprit, priest, ripest, sprite, stripe, tripes
  • gapers, gasper, grapes, pagers, parges, sparge
  • deltas, desalt, lasted, salted, slated, staled
  • aliens, alines, elains, lianes, saline, silane
  • girons, grison, groins, rosing, signor, soring
  • esters, reests, resets, serest, steers, steres
  • corset, coster, escort, rectos, scoter, sector
  • gaster, grates, greats, retags, stager, targes
  • larees, leaser, reales, resale, reseal, sealer
  • paster, paters, prates, repast, tapers, trapes
  • aiders, deairs, irades, raised, redias, resaid
  • hassel, hassle, lashes, selahs, shales, sheals
  • luster, lustre, result, rustle, sutler, ulster
  • reigns, renigs, resign, sering, signer, singer
  • aretes, easter, eaters, reseat, seater, teaser
  • alevin, alvine, valine, veinal, venial, vineal
  • caress, carses, crases, escars, scares, seracs
  • elints, enlist, inlets, listen, silent, tinsel
  • deposit, dopiest, podites, posited, sopited, topside
  • easters, reseats, searest, seaters, teasers, tessera
  • aspirer, parries, praiser, rapiers, raspier, repairs
  • parties, pastier, piaster, piastre, pirates, traipse
  • easting, eatings, ingates, ingesta, seating, teasing
  • realist, retails, saltier, saltire, slatier, tailers
  • dearths, hardest, hardset, hatreds, threads, trashed
  • petrous, posture, pouters, proteus, spouter, troupes
  • albites, astilbe, bastile, bestial, blastie, stabile
  • recepts, respect, scepter, sceptre, specter, spectre
  • hectors, rochets, rotches, tochers, torches, troches
  • palters, persalt, plaster, platers, psalter, stapler
  • lusters, lustres, results, rustles, sutlers, ulsters
  • carpels, clasper, parcels, placers, reclasp, scalper
  • claroes, coalers, escolar, oracles, recoals, solacer
  • diopters, dioptres, peridots, proteids, riposted, topsider
  • estrange, grantees, greatens, negaters, reagents, sergeant
  • painters, pantries, pertains, pinaster, pristane, repaints
  • aligners, engrails, nargiles, realigns, signaler, slangier
  • alerting, altering, integral, relating, tanglier, triangle

Below this level (anagram sets with less than 6 words),  the number of sets rose rapidly. Here’s a count of number of sets (not words) by # of anagrams in the set:

  • 2 anagrams – 9579 sets
  • 3 anagrams – 1904 sets
  • 4 anagrams – 511 sets
  • 5 anagrams – 188 sets

One Reply to “Large Anagram Families – Potential Scrabble Words”

  1. Hi – I’d be very interested to see the sets of 5 and 4 letters. Would you please paste them into an email and send? Thank you very much.

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