Wiktionary:Christmas Competition 2006

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This is to announce this year's Christmas competition, which is open to ALL contributors.

It is based on the old word game in which one word has to be converted into another by changing one letter at a time, each stage being a real word.

This version is easier - you can choose your own start and end words.

This version is harder - at every stage the word must be in a different language to the one immediately before. e.g. sea (English) => mea (Latin) => mer (French)

The usual prize (a feeling of smug self-satisfaction) will be awarded to the "best" entry. This will be judged on several criteria including length and number of words, imaginative choice of languages etc. Ideally there should be some sort of relationship between the first and last words (as in the example). ALL words used MUST have a good entry in Wiktionary.

You may use any alphabet. Uppercase and lowercase letters, and those with or without accents and the like are considered to be the same letter. i.e You are allowed to go from café to cake.

Entries should be included below in the same format as the example. Please sign your entries with four tildes in the usual manner.


  • sea (en) ==> mea (la) ==> mer (fr) SemperBlotto 11:53, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
  • malo (es 'bad') ==> galo (pt) ==> Gulo (trans) ==> guld (sv) ==> guid (sco 'good') --EncycloPetey 02:09, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
  • a (arg) ==> b (trans: IPA) ==> c (fra) ==> d (trans: music) ==> e (ghc) ==> f (eng) ==> g (trans: SI) ==> h (eng) ==> i (cor) ==> j (trans: math) ==> k (bos) ==> l (trans: Roman numeral) ==> m (lat) ==> n (eng) ==> o (slv) ==> p (eng) ==> q (lat) ==> r (trans: Egyptian) ==> s (hrv) ==> t (trans: SI) ==> u (roh) ==> v (ces) ==> w (pol) ==> x (trans: IPA) ==> y (gug) ==> z (slk) DAVilla 22:29, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
  • word (Old English, Old Frisian, Old Saxon:word) ==> wort (Old High German:word) ==> Wort (German:word) ==> vort (Danish:our) ==> vorto (Esperanto and Ido:word) ==> orto (Italian) ==> ort (English) ==> ord (Swedish [Danish, Norwegian]:word) ==> orð (Icelandic:word) ==> ore (Guaraní:our) ==> more (Slovak:sea) ==> mote (Norwegian) ==> mot (French:word) ==> mo (Abenab:word) ==> m (Swahili:noun class) ==> (CJKV, Han character:word) Robert Ullmann 11:57, 12 December 2006 (UTC)


  • Well, once again this has yielded much more heat than light.
  • Just one serious entry from all of the contributors who have multiple Babel entries on their user page.
  • I won't be bothering anymore.
  • EncycloPetey wins by default.


  • You may argue about the rules here (and nowhere else please).
    Ah, and I had just thought up a possible competition as requested last Easter. Guess I'll save the idea for Easter. --EncycloPetey 01:47, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
    Yes please. Then I can enter. SemperBlotto 10:34, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
  • Argument one: entries must consist of more than one character, otherwise I could endlessly expand Davilla's list with: ==> и (bg) ==> а (ru) ==> single-character word in Chinese ==> single-character word in Japanese ==> single-character word in Arabic ==> ad nauseum. It becomes a list of single-character words in various languages otherwise. --EncycloPetey 01:55, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
    • I bet CJKV would have a field day, in that regard! Still, bravo to DAVilla for cleverness! --Connel MacKenzie 05:05, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
    • Yes, I haven't learnt from previous competitions that rules are made to be twisted out of shape, if not actually broken. I forgot to define "word" - but we've probably already got a definition somewhere. You may, of course, use other alphabets. Longer words will earn more Brownie points though. SemperBlotto 10:34, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
    • Yes, I've bent the rules to add and drop letters, but then mine are real words. (Even got "sea" in there ...) Robert Ullmann 12:00, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
      • No, you've broken the rules - no points. SemperBlotto 12:02, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
        • (whinge, stamps foot) nooo!!! ;-) Robert Ullmann 12:09, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
          • I'm definitely letting somebody else do this next time - so many temper tantrums! SemperBlotto 12:12, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
  • My attempt to summarize additional rules as they were likely intended:
    1. All words in the chain must have a constant number of letters.
    2. At each step one letter should be substituted for another letter in the same position.
    3. The ideal entry has the longest word used as the starting and ending points.
    4. The ideal chain has the greatest number of changes required to convert the initial word into the final word, but the minimum number of changes made that are necessary. That is, the ideal entry would have all letters different in each position of the initial and final words in the chain, and the chain would change each letter exactly once. Both Semper's 3-letter example and my 4-letter entry have ths feature. This is not to say that you shouldn't ever change a letter in the same position more than once, just that the more parsimonious entry of a given length is preferred.
      --EncycloPetey 00:50, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

I suggest moving to Wiktionary:Writing the rules of the Christmas Competition 2006 competition. DAVilla 07:01, 19 December 2006 (UTC)