Cool Searches in Hoot

The latest version of Hoot has some cool search options. Hoot is one of many study tools you can use to study words for Scrabble™ and other word games. It's a free PC tool with a lot of standard search options that can help you increase your word knowledge. You can read about it at

The newer versions of Hoot include the Combination search that allows user to search from several options and limit that search by beginning or ending letters and the number of letters. You can also filter the search to only show words containing certain letters. Some of the options are important in Scrabble™ word study and include anagrams and anagram-related searches(subanagrams, superanagrams, blank anagrams), prefixes/suffixes, extensions, etc. Also in Combination are the occasionally used but often unremarkable options to search for misspells and transpositions. Although all of these searches are useful, there are a few other options that are downright "cool", at least to me.

Compound Words

Within the combination search you can now search for compound words. A compound word is a word made up of two other words. Experienced players realize that most words have other words within it. For example, ELEVATOR contains AT, EL, OR, TO, LEV, TOR, VAT, LEVA, and LEVATOR. You would find these with a Subwords search. A compound word in Hoot, on the other hand, is a word that is make up of two words of equal or almost equal length.

Searching for compound words is as simple as selecting the word length and pressing Search. The results can be displayed with the two words separated by a bullet, such as HIGH•WAYS, HIGH•TOPS, and HILL•TOPS. You can search for words of any length longer than 3 letters. You can even search for 14 letter words composed of two seven-letter words. COUNTER•MEASURE is one of them. Incidentally, the word COUNTER-COUNTER-MEASURE is composed of three seven-letter words. That would be a fun sequence of plays in Superscrabble. Of course you can limit the search based on prefix/suffix also.


This is an option designed for French lexicons. A similar option may be added for inflexions of words in English but it would not be as nearly useful.To conduct this search use a French lexicon like ODS5 (you won't get much from an English lexicon), and enter a regular verb in the search field. Searching will return all the valid conjugations of that verb. For example, using CHERCHER (French for to search) the list will show 36 words including

Conjugate is also an option in slide shows so you could study a whole collection of verbs. Simply
search for words ending in ER, RE, or IR, view in slide show, and select the Conjugate subsearch.

Actually, the slide show subsearches are pretty cool in themselves, but they've been there for a while and it's not a new thing to word study. Lexpert inspired me to include it; in fact, that was the inspiration to start developing Hoot in the first place.


Another search in Combination is the pattern search. This is pretty easy to use for basic searches. E* would find words beginning with the letter E. ???? would show all of the four letter words. In Hoot, you can even use c, v, or numbers for letter sets. The lowercase c stands for consonant, the lowercase v for vowel, and numbers for the letter value. cc* would find words beginning with two consonants. ???8 would find four letter words ending in a 8 point letter (APEX, HADJ). Of course, you could build your own letter set. ???[WYZ] would find four letter words ending in W, Y, or Z. *(Y|ER) would find all words ending in Y or ER. The Hoot documentation has more specifics if you wish them.

Cool Patterns

But there are also some "cool" searches you can do with the more advanced features of regular expressions. First, including letters in parentheses creates a group, and you can refer to that group later with a \ and the group number. Here's how you might use it.

Words that end in a double letter:
*(c)\1 lists all the words that end in a consonant doubled, including OFF, BILL, BIRR, BOSS, BRRR and over a hundred others. You could limit that to four letter words with ??(c)\1.

Words containing several of the same letter:
*(?)*\1*\1*\1* lists all the words that contain four or more of the same letter, such as ASSESS, BEEBEE, HOOPOO, and MACADAMIA.

A repeating sequence:
*(???)*\1* lists all the words that have a three character sequence repeated in the word, such as ATLATL, RINGING, TARTARS, GUITGUIT, and INSULINS.


In a different search window (Front and Back) there are options to search for hooks and extensions, with front and back displayed in separate lists. The cool option in this search window is the Parallel search. This will simply show words that can be played parallel to the word entered. This could be most used following a high probability play with common (1 point) letters.

For the word IODATES, there are 57 words that can be played in front, and 7 in the back. The parallel play calculates based on overlapping all or all but one letter. Of course, shorter words could also overlap part of the initial play. Being able to follow up an initial bingo with another bingo that overlaps would really be cool.

Letter Studies

One of the search projects that is still in development is letter studies. This window shows searches for a selected letter or custom set of letters. It begins with a list of words containing the letter
and displays them in multiple lists. Shorts, High Fours, High Fives, High Prob Sevens and Eights, and Prefix/Suffix searches.

Odd Second Letter

One of the lists displayed that's cool is the list of words that begin with an odd second letter, that is, that few words have. Here's an explanation. The letter H is commonly followed by a vowel. For the letter H, the odd second letters would be M or W, and include the words

For M, the list of words with odd second letters includes

For J, JNANA is one of the words.

Unique Hook

There is also a Custom list in Letter Studies, where you can select one of the searches to execute. One of the options is "Is Unique Hook", where words are displayed that include the letter as the ONLY hook. For the J, there is

When it comes to playing serious Scrabble™, Words with Friends™, and other word games, players must learn to master their language in many different ways. These are just some of the cool options available in Hoot.

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