Word Ways

Article Title

Meaningful Word Ladders



Word ladders are strings of equal-length words that change one letter at each step. They have featured often in Word Ways since the first issue (Borgmann '68-27: Eckler's '69-70, Corbin '88-103, Gordon '90-22, 154, and especially Gooch '98-89 + '00-209, 212, 284). These references are the source of many of the word pairs and a few of the strings used here. But while their ladders often connected related words, the connecting words are generally irrelevant to the terminal pair. Here and in three accompanying articles I present cases in which the whole ladder makes some sort of coherent sense, a sentence or most commonly a definition or antonym of the first word. In a similar treatment of vowel movements ('02-53) I called meaningful examples vowel cascades.