Monday, February 11, 2008

RIddle #7: Which word

Here's a different type of riddle. Take a look at the following list of words. Tell me which one doesn't belong and why. Bonus question: Can you tell me any other words that could be on the list? Here goes:


There may be more than one correct answer, but you're trying for my answer. : ) Please leave your guess as a comment, and I'll tell you if you are correct.

NOTE: The correct answer has been guessed. To read it, see the comments section.

Lateral Thinking Puzzlers by Paul Sloane has lots of classic riddles, clues and answers. Click here to order it.


  1. Oh, this one is easy. All of these words except "bill" are heteronyms. And there are way too many of them to list. :)

  2. Good job Gigi Lynn! But since most people don't know what a heteronym is, I'll let a few more people guess.

  3. Good, good. That's exactly why I used the term and didn't list other words. :)

  4. "bill" does not belong because it can only be pronounced one way. I can't think of any others unless either, tomato, or pecan count.

  5. "bill" does not belong because it can only be pronounced one way. I can't think of any others unless either, tomato, or pecan count.

  6. whoops, sorry about leaving my commnet 2x, my pc is giving me fits.

  7. US,

    Yes, you're close -- but what do you do to each word to pronounce it a different way? (tomato and pecan do not count because this is not true for them -- also because for those two words it's more of a regional accent thing.)

  8. I would say, in this particular case, each word is pronounced differently when used as a proper noun. I've been racking my brain trying to think of another example. It's not coming to me.

  9. Yes, Cathy, that's correct! There are other examples -- some more obscure than others. Can anyone think of any without "cheating"? I can give hints, if needed.

  10. I got it!! It was too obvious--my maiden name.


    The German pronunciation is FREES

  11. Cathy,

    That's one I hadn't thought of. There are several others. Can anyone else think of one?

  12. When I explained this to my little guy, he asked if bow (bow to the Queen) & bow (bow in her hair) would work? I think yes. Am I right? Or, how about close (close to the finish line) and close (close the door)?
    I have to admit, I've never heard of heteronyms. It brings funny thoughts to my mind...LOL!

  13. Robin, yes, the examples you mentioned are heteronyms. However, for particular riddle, the key is that these words change pronunciation when they are capitalized. In other words, when they become proper nowns you pronounce them differently than when they are just words. So what I'm looking for is other words that change their pronunciation when they are capitalized. Here are clues about two of them:
    Think about a calendar
    Think about the Monopoly game
    There are others, but these are two that you might be able to guess.

  14. Aargh! I typed that previous comment too fast. I meant to say "for THIS paricular riddle . . . " ALSO, I know that "nouns" is the proper spelling. I don't know where "nowns" came from. LOL.