Minimal anagram

I define a minimal anagram as two words that are the same except that two adjacent letters are swapped. There are many examples: altitude/latitude, ample/maple, casual/causal, martial/marital, option/potion, perfect/prefect, quiet/quite, rogue/rouge, silver/sliver, and many others. What’s the longest minimal anagram?

Three kinds that I’m not interested in:

  1. Word pairs that share a prefix or suffix. If both words have the same prefix or suffix and they can be removed and still make a minimal anagram, we’ll ignore those -fixes for the purpose of this question.

  2. Spelling variants of the same word: theater/theatre.

  3. Words that share the same base word and only twiddle the last letters: anthologies/anthologise.

So far the longest I’ve been able to find is 9 letters: complaint/compliant, optometer/potometer.

The only 10 letter ones I can find are US/UK variants such as centimeter/centimetre and discreetly/discretely.

The closest other one I think could be filtration/flirtation but that’s a step above minimal as three letters have been changed. Nominal???

Actually that’s a double minimum. It swaps that 2nd and 3rd letters (I and L) and the 4th and 5th (R and T).

So it is!

discretely and discreetly are not spelling variants of the same word, they mean completely different things, so it is a good example of what the OP wants.

Edit to add: except the -ly suffix is superfluous so is only 8 letters by the OP’s reckoning.

Nope, misread the wording in the OP :wink:

no latitudinarian/altitudinarian ?

imprescriptibilities / imperscriptibilities

Agreed, but discretely is a real word. I cannot quite imagine what discreetly would mean.

In a discreet manner?

Surely these are homophones, but not simply spelling variations of the same word.

Huh, two mistakes in the same post then. :frowning:

I had thought discreet was an American spelling of discrete, but yup, two different meanings…

I assume these were proposed facetiously, since they so obviously have suffixes that would be factored out.

Those also have common affixes, but not as many as apparent. “Perscript” doesn’t seem to be a word, nor “imperscript”, but imperscriptible is. New word to me and it isn’t in Webster’s 3rd International. But Collins English Dictionary has imperscriptible as well as imprescriptible. Just checked Webster’s Second and it does have the words, so for some reason “imperscriptible” was removed when they compiled the 3rd edition.

So it looks like imperscriptible/imprescriptible at 15 letters is the winner so far.

I ran a program against a file of 235,000 words, and imperscriptible/imprescriptible is the longest pair I find, and the only 15 letter pair. I see these 14 letter pairs:

latitudinarian altitudinarian
paradisaically paradisiacally
petrographical pterographical

All of which have suffixes that could be factored out:


You’d think the last pair has a common -ic, but it doesn’t look like “pterograph” is a word.

The second hand on my watch moves discretely, my last one moved continuously
I had to discreetly talk to Bob about his hygiene today.