Word Ways

Article Title

Ladder Words


Susan Thorpe


PERVERSER, HASHISHES and INSINKING are examples of what I call Ladder Words. Each word is a self-contained ladder (PER-VER-SET, HAS-HIS-HES, INS-INK-ING) in which each trigram (3-letter group) differs from its trigram neighbour(s) by a single letter, just as do the words in a word ladder. All the examples of ladder words below are either solid words or hyphenated words. Hyphens are not shown. All 3 trigramism must be different, so that GONGOLGON (in New South Wales) is not acceptable. A few words of this genre appeared in Colloquy 98116 and these are identified in the lists below by an asterisk*. Unreferenced words can be found in the Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition or can be inferred from words therein. Sources of non-OED words are given at the end.