anagram and multi: Are you game?

I’ve got a second word tool today — in fact, two tools from the same package. I discovered both of them purely by chance, while picking through an apparently unrelated list of software. Here’s anagram and multi.


These two wunderkinder are hiding inside the yawl package (don’t ask how I got there; I don’t remember), which is advertised more as a word list than anything. The makefile in that package will allow you to build both anagram and multi, and on my Arch system neither needed any coaxing.

As you might imagine — and as you can see above — anagram splits apart words or letter sequences to find legitimate smaller words within. Which makes anagram a lot like an, which you might remember from a very long time ago. Of course, “legitimate” leaves some room for interpretation; dict couldn’t find anything under “xu,” but it’s listed there. πŸ˜•

multi, on the other hand, finds combinations of legitimate words that use all the letters in the sequence or word you provide. In other words, you’ll use all the letters to make several words at once. As a warning, multi has the potential to really bog down your system, if you give it a long word and ask for a lot of combinations, for example.

Both have an interactive mode or can take targets at the command line, for brevity of use. They also don’t require that you use the bundled word.list, but they will look for it at /usr/share/dict, and halt the interactive mode if they don’t find it. If you’d rather use another word list, you’ll have to stick with the command flag style. Or play dirty pool and rename your dictionary to /usr/share/dict/word.list. 😈

As best I can tell, neither anagram nor multi — nor yawl, for that matter — is in Debian or Arch. So I give you something new today.

I’m tempted not to tag these two as games, since there’s little about them that is amusing or entertaining. On the other hand, if you’re a scribble player or if you enjoy working with pen-and-paper anagrams, there’s a definite niche for these two programs. Games or not, take them as they are. πŸ˜‰