Word Matcher

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Word Matcher is a simple web page that lets you search for words that match a given pattern. Try it now! There’s a wireless version for your mobile ’phone too.

For more advanced word matching problems, you might like to look at Qat.

Simple examples

To match a simple pattern with unknown letters just enter it in the ‘pattern’ box and click on ‘Search’. Example.

To solve an anagram type the letters you have into the ‘all of’ box and click on ‘Search’. Example.

If you get stuck at any point, just click on ‘Reset’: this will reset all the options to their standard settings.

More sophisticated examples

The shaded boxes show where a setting should be left at its reset value. There is an explanation of wildcard characters and compound patterns after the examples.

To do this... ... set these options... ... and get these results See for yourself!
Basic pattern Exactly? Length at least Length at most Using only At most this many times? Using all of
Complete a crossword entry l.......v             leitmotiv lermontov Try it
Complete a crossword entry with alternatives ..i[sz]e             anise arise avise avize baize ... Try it
Match ranges of letters [l−p].[m−r].[w−z]             lammy lanky lapaz lardy larky larry lenny limax ... Try it
Match disallowing certain letters ....i[!stz]e             abusive acarine acquire adenine affaire airline airmile airside ... Try it
Match consonants and vowels #@#@#@#@#@#@#@             pararosaniline recapitulative rehabilitative supererogative verisimilitude Try it
Find all words beginning with xo xo*             xosa xoana xoanon Try it
Find all words beginning with x and ending in a x*a             xema xosa xenia xhosa xoana xeroma xyloma xerasia xylopia xanthoma ... Try it
Find all words containing the sequence xj *xj*             vieuxjeu boxjunction boxjellyfish boxjunctions knoxjohnston Try it
Find all words with a j as the second letter, followed somewhere by a k .j*k*             sjambok djakarta sjamboks sjambokked sjambokking Try it
Find all words which contain the vowels in order *a*e*i*o*u*             caesious arsenious facetious haveitout parecious abstemious aeruginous ... Try it
Find all words which contain five consecutive vowels *@@@@@*             euouae zooeae euouaes miaoued cooeeing miaouing queueing queueings Try it
Find all words which consist of ‘ace’ followed by a word ace>             acetic acerate acerose acetate acetone acetose acescent acetates acetones acetabula acetabular Try it
Find all words of at least 9 letters which, when the first and last letters are deleted, makes a reversed word .<.   9         banisters canisters denitrate ... xenograft Try it
Find all words one letter away from bonge bonge with exactly one misprint           binge bodge bonce bongo bongs bonne bonze bouge conge longe Try it
Complete a crossword entry where one of the crossing letters may be wrong str.g.ly with 0 or 1 misprints           scraggly scriggly stingily stodgily straggle straggly straitly strictly strigils strongly struggle Try it
Find all words which only contain the letters r, s, t and u         rstu    

r (-stu) s (-rtu) t (-rsu) u (-rst) st (-ru) ur (-st) us (-rt) ut (-rs) rut (-s) sts (-ru) sus (-rt) ... tuttuts (-r) susurrus (-t)

Unused letters are shown in brackets in each case.

Try it
Find all anagrams of triangle     8   triangle Yes   alerting altering integral relating tanglier triangle Try it
Find all anagrams of triangle plus one extra letter     9   triangle. Yes  

clareting (.c) earthling (.h) faltering (.f) gnarliest (.s) ...

Letters allocated to wildcards are shown in brackets in each case.

Try it
Play the Countdown letters game     7   rpoyesdif Yes   perfidy (-os) periods (-fy) prosify (-de) spidery (-fo) Try it
Find all 10-letter words starting with q and ending in s which can be made from the letters of square peg in a round hole q*s   10 10 squarepeginaroundhole Yes   quadruples (-aeeghinnoor) quandaries (-eeghlnoopru) quarendens (-aeghiloopru) quarenders (-aeghilnoopu) queenhoods (-aaegilnprru) quinapalus (-deeeghnoorr) Try it
Find all words that contain a q, an x, and a z             qxz

squeezebox (+beeeosu) squeezeboxes (+beeeeossu)

Extra letters are shown in brackets in each case.

Try it
Find all words of at most 8 letters that contain all the vowels       8     aeiou douleia (+dl) eulogia (+gl) miaoued (+dm) moineau (+mn) sequoia (+qs) aboideau (+abd) aboiteau (+abt) aurevoir (+rrv) ... Try it
Find all words with a j as the penultimate or last letter *j. | *j             j jo gju haj raj taj baju benj dojo fiji fuji gajo hadj haji hajj juju mojo ... Try it
Find all words starting with kn that are also words written backwards kn* & <             knar knit knob knot know knub knaps knits knots knuts Try it
Find all words of at least 12 letters not containing a reversed sub-word ! *<*   12         drinkdriving flyingcircus gainstriving kicksywicksy offscourings quickthinking Try it
Find all words starting or ending with b no initial segment of which is a word ! >*. & (b* | *b)             b ab ba be ... bwana bwazi climb clomb droob dweeb hbomb jacob jelab kebab kebob scrab scrub squab squib thumb vocab aplomb bhagee bhajee ... Try it

Wildcards

A full stop stands for any single character in the pattern or under ‘only letters from’. A minus sign or a question mark can be used instead of a full stop if you prefer.

An asterisk stands for zero or more characters, and can only be used in the pattern.

The ‘commercial at’ symbol (‘@’) stands for any vowel. The hash symbol (‘#’) stands for any consonant, including ‘y’. These symbols can only be used in the pattern.

The ‘greater than’ symbol (‘>’) stands for any word of two letters or more in the current dictionary. The ‘less than’ symbol (‘<’) stands for the reverse of any word of two letters or more in the current dictionary. These symbols can only be used in the pattern.

Compound patterns

Compound patterns can be built up from basic patterns using the exclamation mark (‘!’), ampersand (‘&’) and vertical bar (‘|’) characters. Using p and q to represent basic patterns, we can use these three operators to form the following compound patterns:

  • !p which matches exactly those words not matched by p
  • p & q which matches exactly those words matched by both p and q
  • p | q which matches exactly those words matched by either p or q or both

The three operators are applied in the order of precedence shown: for example,

p | !q & r

matches those words which match p, as well as those which match r but not q. Round brackets can be used to alter the order in which the operators are applied:

(p | !q) & r

matches those words which both match r and which either match p or fail to match q.

p | !(q & r)

matches those words which either match p or which fail to match both q and r.

Dictionaries

There is a choice of dictionaries to search; more information about them is available here. The default, UKACD, is suitable for most UK crosswords and similar puzzles.

Presentation of results

Results are sorted by length.

There is an option to display the results either simply as plain text or to include links to the Google search engine or to the OneLook on-line dictionary searcher. These last two options restrict the number of results that are returned in the interests of improving response time.

How does it work?

It uses a variant of the Baeza-Yates-Gonnet and Wu-Manber k-differences shift-OR algorithms, apparently.


This page most recently updated Fri Nov 7 16:07:43 GMT 2014
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