Halfway through a game of hangman, the piece of paper you are playing on might look something like this (omitting the partial drawing of the hanged man).
_AN_MAN Guessed letters: EASTNRM
What is a natural term to use for the "partial word"
_AN_MAN? I have tried googling, but to no avail. I am looking for a single word or short phrase that would be understood by anybody, and is less clumsy than "partial word". In my head I've been calling
_AN_MAN the board, similar to how I suppose you might call a particular arrangement of chess pieces on a chess board "the board", but I do not think this would be immediately understood/considered natural.
After guessing seven letters, the _____ was