Has MOTLIER ever actually been valid?

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Stewart Gordon
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Posts: 182
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:48 am

Has MOTLIER ever actually been valid?

Post by Stewart Gordon » Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:21 pm

It seems that on a handful of occasions this word has been given by a contestant, and each time allowed. I've just checked the dictionary, and from what I can make out it isn't a valid word at all.

There is no entry for MOTLIER, MOTLY or MOTLIE on en.oxforddictionaries.com.
The entry for MOTLEY doesn't mention even that it has a comparative form at all (which would be required as it's more than one syllable), let alone that the comparative has the irregular form MOTLIER.

The most recent occurrence seems to have been just under a month ago. I can't believe that, all the times it's been used, not even once has a correct verdict been given. So I can think of a few possibilities:
  • it has been removed from the dictionary very recently
  • there's a rule we don't know about whereby if a search for the word returns something, then it's considered valid, even if the entry itself doesn't make it valid in any way whatsoever (I'm not sure whether we've seen evidence that contradicts this)
  • it goes to prove (as has been suspected before) that they're using a different dictionary from the one everyone thinks they're using
Does anyone else have thoughts on this?

Ray Wilding
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Joined: Tue Feb 02, 2016 4:32 pm

Re: Has MOTLIER ever actually been valid?

Post by Ray Wilding » Tue Jul 11, 2017 1:03 pm

You're very much out of the loop on this. The free ODO doesn't give any comparatives/superlatives for any word any more. Countdown uses a premium version that still gives them. MOTLIER has very much always been valid, here's how the entry used to look: https://web.archive.org/web/20160815003 ... ish/motley

Stewart Gordon
Acolyte
Posts: 182
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:48 am

Re: Has MOTLIER ever actually been valid?

Post by Stewart Gordon » Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:15 pm

I see. So the dictionary that used to be freely available (and which Countdown use) has now been hidden behind a paywall, and a cut-down version has been sneakily put in its place.

And so now only subscribers to Oxford Dictionaries Premium can verify if a word validation error has been made on the show, or use the dictionary to validate words at a Co-event....

A dictionary that doesn't give inflections is pretty useless for any word game.

Gavin Chipper
Post-apocalypse
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 10:37 pm

Re: Has MOTLIER ever actually been valid?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:36 pm

The stupid thing is that there's nothing obvious to say that you'll get any more detail by paying for a subscription. There's nothing to get people interested in their paid-for service at all, because there's no reason to believe it even exists unless you already know about it.

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