Are there any >2 letter sets that always create a word when jumbled?

Coming up empty on the search for a name for this concept, I assume there are none (at least in English).

O, N, E can be “one,” “eon,” or “neo.”

tae - scottish form of “to”
eta - greek letter
aet - “at the age of”

There may be better ones out there. One or two of those are a little dodgy.

Ooooooo = the sound a ghost makes

I’ve played word games for ages, and thought about this one. I haven’t found any that work in all combinations*, but observed that you get

tra (song syllable)

but you have to call on initials and abbreviations for rta and atr.

You can get a lot of permutations out of

which makes it useful if you’re playing “Giotto” ( Jotto - Wikipedia )

*I hadn’t thought of aspidistra’s, but would’ve balked at “tae”, being unfamiliar with the Scottish

Do words with repeated letters count? It seems like those ought to be easier. With a three-letter word with a pair of repeated letters, you’d only need to worry about three permutations, not six.

That said, I can’t think of any examples off the top of my head.

When I was in Chicago in the early 80s, there was a club called Neo with a DJ that went by the name Noe. They had a night of Brian Eno music that was dubbed:
One eon of Eno at Neo with Noe

Got 5 of the 6 possible combinations of those three letters.

Aspidistra - I never would have found that, because “aet” (pronounced “eat”, meaning “at the age of”) is not in the Scrabble dictionary. It’s probably not in there because it’s an abbreviation of “aetat”. Thank you.

Chronos - repeated letters are fine. I checked all possibilities with three letters, and none work on the Scrabble dictionary (nor does any other three letter word).

CalMeacham - your {s,h,e,a,r,} set is very cool. Thanks.

ese, do you see a word with ees?

With a little bit of cheating (:)) you can use a,e,r and get:

aer – the prefix in aerosol, aerated
Rae (OK, that’s a name, not a word…)
rea – Latin, but (sort of) used in English as part of the phrase “Mens Rea” (guilty mind)

Probably not going to pass dictionary muster, but at least all 6 combinations sort of mean something

Here’s a group of 7, 6 of which are all ordinary words, and the last dogy. Unfortunately it’s four letters so it’s only 6 or 7 of 24.

SOPT which is listed as slang in the Urban Dictionay (and could also be the past tense of sop in some dialects).

It doesn’t have meaning in all permutations, but if one opts to stop and spot the anagrams in this post, one becomes dizzy as spinning tops, or perhaps someone who has smoked two or more pots.

(Yeah, I know…)

ETA: :::opts to thrpw pots of boiling oil on the spot occup0ied by OldGuy :::

CalMeacham posted some good combinations for 3- and 5-letter words.

For 4-letters good combos include

ares arse ears eras rase sear sera

east eats etas sate seat seta teas

(His lot is only 0.03 hectares, i.e. 3 ares. Sera is the plural of serum.)

I played a lot of Jotto decades ago. Our rules differed somewhat from those shown at Wikipedia:

  • duplicate letters are permitted
  • score of 5 wins – you need not guess the exact anagram
  • four 4’s in a row wins – you needn’t worry about a sadist picking a word from the
    acres arses asker avers bares cares fares gears mares rears years etc. set

Surely there is a program that can match all of the permutations of a three letter set to a given dictionary. That is, of course, the first thing that comes to mind. The second is a desire to actually code it in the language that I am currently using.

And yes, I am a geek.

I wrote a brief Mathematica program that looked through its dictionary of uncapitalized three-letter words and found the letter combinations that occurred most often. Then I adapted it to longer words out of curiosity.[ul]
[li]For three letters, there are two combinations corresponding to four words: AET (ate, eat, eta, tea) and APS (spa, asp, pas, sap).[/li][li]For four letters, there are seven words using AEST: ates, eats, east, etas, sate, seat, teas. I’m not sure how “ates” is a word, though; if you disallow that one, the best is OPST with six words (opts, post, pots, spot, stop, tops.)[/li][li]For five letters, there are seven words using AEPRS: pares, parse, pears, rapes, reaps, spare, spear.[/li][li]For six letters, there are seven words using the combinations ACEPRS (capers, crapes, pacers, parsec, recaps, scrape, spacer) and ACERST (carets, caster, caters, crates, reacts, recast, traces).[/li][/ul]This is where my computer started to choke and die due to my kludgy coding, so I didn’t go to seven letters or beyond.

Thank you, MikeS. I was seriously thinking of cranking out a Q&D in PHP to do this very same thing. Mathematica, eh? I have heard that it is a remarkably capable language. Never would have thought about using it because I only know of it by reputation.

And thanks for making me feel less like a geek. heh heh heh

The grand daddy -and superset- of most of these replies is “earth”, assuming you don’t have to use all letters each time. In my head I came up with 21 combinations, if I recall, but I am not doing it again right now.

Using Mathematica for a problem like this is like using a blowtorch to open a walnut: it’s possible to do it with this tool, but the tool’s really much better-adapted to other tasks. I just had it on hand because I work at a college.

This said, I did manage to revamp my code to work around the memory limitations I was running into earlier today. (Hooray for sparse arrays!) The results for longer words are kind of interesting, mainly because the “maximal anagram sets” seem to decrease in size:
[ul][li]For seven letters, AIENRST makes six words: antsier, nastier, retains, retinas, retsina, stainer.[]For eight letters, there are four sets of letters that make five words: AEGILNRT (alerting, altering, integral, relating, triangle); AEGILNRS (aligners, realigns, resignal, signaler, slangier); AEGINRST (angriest, gantries, granites, ingrates, rangiest); and AEINRRST (restrain, retrains, strainer, terrains, trainers).[/li][] For nine letters, there are twenty-two (!) sets of nine letters that have three anagrams, but apparently none that have four. In the interests of space, I won’t include them all here. My favourite, though, is “auctioned”, “cautioned”, and “education”.[*]For ten letters, there are three letter sets that have three anagrams: ADEGIILMNS (misaligned, misdealing, misleading); CDEINORSTU (discounter, introduces, reductions); and EEINPSSTT (persistent, pinsetters, prettiness).[/ul]I looked at eleven-, twelve-, thirteen- and fourteen-letter words as well, but Mathematica only found pairs of acronyms—no sets of three or more.

I have The Dictionary of Anagrams by Samuel Hunter which may be useful here. It doesn’t have 3- and 4-letter words; it’s starts at 5 letters. It doesn’t say where he found these words, but I assume they’re all in some dictionary or another.
For 5-letter words, the largest sets I could find are 12 words (out of 120 possible):

AEPRS - apers asper pares parse pears prase presa rapes reaps spaer spare spear
AERST - arets aster earst rates reast resat stare strae tares tarse tears teras

There’s also a couple 11 word sets:

AELST - astel least leats slate stale steal stela taels tales teals tesla
AELPS - elaps lapse leaps pales peals pleas salep sepal slape spale speal
For 6-letters, I couldn’t find any set larger than 11 words:

AEERST - aretes asteer easter eaters reseat saeter seater staree steare teaser teresa

also a 10 word set

AELRST - alerts alters artels laster ratels resalt salter slater staler tarsel
7-letters only produces a 9 word set:

AEGINRS - angries earings erasing gainers regains regians reginas swearing seringa

also 8 words:

AEINRST - nastier resiant restain retains retinas retsina stainer stearin
8-letters: an 8 word set:

AEEGNRST - estrange grantees greatens negaters reagents segreant sergeant sternage

Nitpick: Anagrams, not acronyms.