Wordle is the absolute internet hype that has won the hearts of millions of users within a few months.
Released in October 2021, the little word quiz is a free online game from the US that has captivated the world. There are now many offshoots of Wordle.
But how does the game work? The principle is simple: Once a day, you have to guess a 5 -letter word. You have 6 attempts for this. To guess the right word, the game gives you a few color clues.
In this in-depth Wordle complete guide, we will discuss how Wordle works, what tricks and strategies are used, and what the other alternatives are.
What is Wordle?
So what is it about? What is Wordle? Wordle is a web puzzle that asks players to guess a five-letter word in six attempts or less.
It’s a new pun game whose simplicity has conquered the whole world. Simple, at least ideally and graphically, given that this web game, available online at the dedicated site, teases the minds.
The game was created by American engineer Josh Wardle, who was looking for a fun way to pass the time during the pandemic. The man told the New York Times that he uploaded about 2,500 words, so we would be able to play for at least the next six years.
Whether on Twitter, WhatsApp, or other platforms: There is hardly any escape from the small, colorful grids on the Internet. But what do they even mean?
Behind this are the individual Wordle results of the players. The grid shows how many attempts it took you and how good the attempts were. Players can send this grid to friends via a share button or post it on social media. Even US star Jimmy Fallon couldn’t resist it.
The story of Wordle
To put an end to the gnawing boredom of winter and the COVID-19 lockdown, Josh Wardle hit the keys. During the lockdown, the partner of the software developer from Brooklyn had solved one word puzzle after the other.
To ensure there’s enough to play, Wardle finally programmed his puzzles: The online game Wordle follows the “mastermind” principle and lets its users guess one word out of 2500.
The puzzlers have six attempts to place the five letters correctly. The highlight: only one word can be played per day, the same for all guessers on the net. Since mid-December, millions of users have been clicking to the puzzle daily and discussing the best playing strategy.
Wordle is a digital remake of the popular TV format “Lingo,” which first aired on American television in the late 1980s and has more than 500 episodes.
After just a couple of months of getting launched and becoming popular, the New York Times in February 2022 purchased the popular word game for a seven-figure sum.
The game will continue to be “free to new and existing players, and no changes will be made,” the newspaper noted.
According to the editor of the newspaper’s crossword section, Will Shortz, the purchase will help them expand their digital content as they try to reach the goal of 10 million subscribers by 2025.
The developer of the game made popular by being mistaken for another online game planned to donate the proceeds to charity.
How Does Wordle Work?
On Wordle, players will have a mysterious 5-letter word to find daily. Every day, the whole world will be able to guess a mysterious word that is hidden under five gray boxes.
But how does it work? Players will have no clue other than their intuition or inspiration. To start, type in a random five-letter word from which the game will begin. In fact, with every attempt, the letters change in color, yellow or green, depending on their presence within the word.
If a letter turns green, it means that the letter is correct and that it is in the right place. If instead, it turns yellow, then it means that this letter is in the word, but it is in the wrong place.
Finally, if a letter is dark gray, it means that it does not appear in the word of the day and, therefore it is not to be typed in subsequent attempts.
The reason Wordle has become so popular, beyond its simplicity, is it’s a game that is easy to turn. All players have to do is guess the same word every day. This makes the game something viral and social, as well as being a brain-massaging pastime
The goal is simple: Guess a 5-letter word within 6 attempts. You use the integrated keyboard for this. The game uses colors to help you guess the right word.
- Black letter: This letter does not appear in the searched word.
- Yellow letter: This letter appears in the searched word but in a different position.
- Green letter: This letter is in the correct position.
Letters that have already been used are colored accordingly on your keyboard. So you know immediately which letters are eliminated.
The quicker you can guess the word you’re looking for, the better!
Beware of addiction: Unfortunately, the original game only has one quiz a day. But there are many alternatives – sometimes you can even play there as often as you want.
How to Play Wordle? – Step-by-Step Guide
Here’s how to play Wordle step-by-step:
Step 1: Go to Wordle
Visit the Wordle website via New York Times.
Step 2: Think of a word in 5 letters
You have six chances to predict the five-letter word for the day, so make the most of every attempt! Start with a word that contains various letters to narrow it down. Use the keyboard to type out your first guess in the first row of the grid and press Enter to see if you have guessed any letters right.
Step 3: Check the colors of the letters.
Once the initial word has been entered, the grid boxes containing the letters will change color:
- As explained earlier, if the box turns green, it means that the letter is included in the word to be guessed and that it is in the correct position;
- If the box turns yellow, it means that the letter is contained in the word but is in the wrong position;
- If the box turns gray, the letter is not included in the word.
Step 4: Give it another try.
With the clues you got with the initial word, try another one. Remember not to reuse the letters in gray. They’re definitely not part of the puzzle of the day.
If you guess a letter in the correct position (indicated by a green box), be sure to enter that letter in the same spot when typing the next word.
Step 5: Keep entering new words until all the letters turn green.
After guessing the word, a pop-up window will appear with your stats and a countdown timer that will tell you how much time is left until the next Wordle.
Step 6: Share your result online
Would you like to show others your result? Click on the Share button? A colored grid will paste into a Facebook post, tweet, email, or chat.
Since the puzzle is the same for everyone, the results shared on social media do not reveal the day’s words to friends.
An example of How to Play Wordle
We like to start with STONE. When you make a guess, Wordle colors any letters that are in the word in yellow – so whatever the mystery Wordle is here, it contains a T and an O. And it colors any letters that are in the word in the right place in green – so that N is clearly where it’s meant to be.
Then, you can guess AUDIO to test out a few other vowels. So now you know the solution contains a U and the O we already knew about.
And then, after a process of elimination, you can guess MOUNT, which is the answer!
How to win at Wordle
The answer to winning at Wordle is obviously: maths. Understanding the maths of Wordle can teach us the optimal strategy for winning because, while it masquerades as a word game, the real puzzle here is mathematical.
The first words to play
Since the words are picked randomly from a list of over 2000 possibilities, you don’t have any real hope of guessing the word on your first go or even on your second. These turns are exploratory fact-finding missions, where you hope to use the information gleaned from your guesses to work out as much about the mystery word as possible.
Then you have to narrow down the possibilities so you can strike in later turns. As such, many online discussions are about the best first word to pick to gain the maximum information.
One common strategy is to think about which letters are most common in the English language and pick a word that’s rich in those.
On that basis, a common choice of opening word is ADIEU. This has every vowel asides from O. Therefore, it’s very likely it will give you at least some information about the next word. And, if it doesn’t, you know that the only vowel it can contain is O. This will narrow things down significantly too.
Another popular choice is AUDIO, for the same basic reason. We also like to choose our opening guess, STONE. This is because it contains some common letters and maybe gets a few extra points because S is the most common first letter for an English word.
However, even though it sounds intuitive, this strategy actually isn’t optimal. It’s not terrible, don’t get us wrong – but we can do better using maths.
Maximize the entropy
Rather than maximizing how common the letters are, the way to win Wordle is to maximize the entropy. You might have heard of entropy as the physics word for disorder.
The second law of thermodynamics states that as entropy increases, stuff will tend to move from an ordered state to a disordered one.
If you start with a bunch of atoms on one side of a box and remove a divider to allow them to move freely, they’ll spread out to fill the whole box. This is a state of higher entropy, and it’s very unlikely they’ll all end up back in a low-entropy state, like being together on the same side of the box again.
The mathematical equivalent here in Wordle is that we want an opening guess that creates the most complex, information-dense patterns among the possible solutions.
Let’s show you what we mean by starting with one of the worst choices of opening word in Wordle: FUZZY.
If you guess FUZZY, the most common pattern of colors you’ll get back in response is all grey. That’s because of the 2315 words which are possible solutions in Wordle. 1352 of them don’t contain an F, U, Z, or Y.
FUZZY gives you almost no information about what the solution to the day’s Wordle might be: over half the time, you get all-grey, and most of the rest of the time, you only get a single extra letter. This means that FUZZY is a low-entropy opening guess.
You can write a computer program to go through and test all the possible opening guesses against all the possible solutions. Work out the patterns you’ll get for each, and then find the one with the highest entropy. And the answer is… SOARE.
Apparently, it’s an obsolete spelling of soar, like birds do in the sky. But let’s go through what might happen if your opening guess is SOARE instead of FUZZY. There are only 183 Wordle solutions that don’t contain any of S, O, A, R, or E, meaning that you’ve narrowed down the field of possibilities to just 8% of them.
The next most common is a yellow in the middle, and there are 120 solutions that fit this pattern, so another 5%. If we go through all the possible solutions and find out what patterns they’d give if your opening guess was SOARE, the graph looks something like this.
Mathematically, this far richer, more complex graph of possible patterns you get with SOARE has higher entropy than the one we get for FUZZY, which means it contains far more information.
That’s why a high-entropy guess is the best way to open a game of Wordle: the pattern of colors your guess reveals is far more likely to tell you something about the solution. So, even though SOARE is a stupid word, it does seem reasonably intuitive that it’s a helpful opening guess.
Should you start every game with SOARE?
So, should you start every game with SOARE from now on? Aside from the fact it might feel a bit dirty to have had computational assistance? Well, maybe not, because there are a couple of problems with this technique for identifying the best opening word: one mathematical, one linguistic.
The mathematical problem is that this algorithm maximizes the entropy in a given turn that is short-sighted. It might be that a particular guess maximizes the diversity of patterns this time. But it makes life hard in the next guess by grouping together a bunch of words that are hard to separate with guess number two or three.
To see if this really is a problem, scientist and writer Andrew Steele tried the top 100 best words for maximum entropy on turn one to see which would win the fastest on average. And that changed things significantly.
Opening with SOARE wins in an average of 3.64 turns, which puts it in 41st place!
What is the best word to start with in Wordle?
The winning word, according to Steele, is REAST. No idea what that means either. But it will nail a Wordle by entropy maximization in just 3.60 turns, about 1% faster than rubbish old SOARE can manage.
And REAST probably isn’t the best word, either! Because when that was worked out, every subsequent turn was also played without looking ahead to the turns after.
Out there in word space, there’s some highly optimized branching sequence of guesses you could try to win any Wordle as fast as possible. And we guess that that would change the best opening word again. However, given that we got a less than 1% improvement for optimizing the critical first guess, we’ll leave this computationally intensive and probably almost thankless task of generating the optimal Wordle guess tree as an exercise for the reader.
This short-sightedness is even more important in Wordle’s hard mode, where every guess has to include the correct letters from your last one.
This means you can put yourself in a corner by getting too many letters right, restricting your options for high-entropy fishing expeditions.
But, just in case you’re interested, the short-sighted algorithm finds that the best opener in hard mode is TRAPE, with REAST dropping down to fifth place, which is evidence that something is going on.
Also, you can see that even the best words take an average of 0.2 more guesses to find the answer – so the hard mode is harder. But perhaps not as much harder as you’d think. The bigger issue is the linguistic one: we don’t care how much of a word nerd you are.
No one on the planet knows every one of the 13,000 words that Wordle would accept. Much less can they randomly come up with an entropy-maximizing guess during a game.
So the same thing was done again, but this time, the author tried to filter the list for words you might actually have heard of. And, after all that, the winning opening word is TRACE. This will win in an average of 3.62 turns if used by an entropy-maximizing algorithm that’s only allowed to guess normal words.
Try the most frequently used letters
The best trick might be to look at the most frequent letters of the English language. These are the letters:
- E – 11.2%
- A – 8.5%
- R – 7.6%
- I – 7.5%
- O – 7.2%
- T – 7.0%
- N – 6.7%
- S – 5.7%
- L – 5.5%
- C – 4.5%
Try to cover as many as possible in one word, mixing the vowels with a few consonants. This gives you a clever starting word!
Also, a good tactic: look for the vowels first! Words with many vowels, such as AUDIO, ADIEU, RADIO, etc., will help you with this. But be careful: remember that the letter Y in English can also be a vowel. So try words like TEARY as well.
First, only guess words with 5 different letters! This is how you get the most information.
Always think of common letter combinations such as CH, ST, SP, and Co
If you guess two words with completely different letters at the beginning, you will get the most information. However, if you play in “hard mode,” this is not allowed. The following applies here: All green and yellow letters must be used in the next attempt, but black letters are no longer allowed.
Various algorithms have tried to find out what the best start word is. Currently, some of the most common are: RAISE, SOARE, and CRANE.
Top Wordle Alternatives
We don’t like to be the bearer of bad news. But what has already become a daily mantra for millions of gamers worldwide could soon disappear behind a paywall.
According to The Times, the game will remain free for new and existing players at first. But many believe that the game will eventually end up behind the newspaper’s paywall. Other puzzle games from the Times, like Spelling Bee, Tiles, Vertex, and Letter Boxed, are all accessible via a paywall subscription service.
If you want to continue satisfying your word search, you have to pay. But there is hope.
There are a lot of free alternatives to “Wordle” which can be found on the Internet, some with strange excesses.
Lingo: the allegedly replicated version
Lingo is a very popular television game show in the United States that consists of guessing words with a limited number of attempts. You can play it on your mobile with the Lingo! Guess the word that offers you the four modalities of the contest: 4 × 4, 5 × 5, 6 × 6 and 5 rounds. This last mode is the only one where you have to guess the word with limited time.
Lingo’s colors indicate much the same thing as Wordle’s: green means the letter is in the word and the right place, yellow means the letter is in the word but not in the right place, and blue indicates that the letter is not in the word. The less you spend trying to guess the word, the more points the game will give you, and the higher you climb on the global leaderboard. Let’s guess!
Lewdle: The swearing version
Let’s start with Lewdle. Lewdle looks almost exactly like Wordle. But what makes the game different from its original is the type of words that need to be guessed.
Bearing the slogan “Bad word game,” Lewdle is a puzzle game of naughty words. If offended by the use of profanities, vulgar or obscene language, instead, play Wordle, the game description reads. No joke!
Lewdle is currently only playable in English. The rules of the game are basically the same as in Wordle. So if you feel like swearing a little in English, you’ve come to the right place.
Evil Wordle and Absurdle: The versions for masochists
The game rules in “Evil Wordle” are as follows: There is no default word. Every time you guess, the little devil looks at all the possible five-letter words that match the guesses. Then he chooses the matching pattern that gives the most possible words. His goal is to maximize the number of tries it takes to find the word.
To do this, you must type your word into a text field. Our first attempt failed. “I was thinking of gases.” You lose!” the game replied quite ruthlessly after we clicked surrender. Do you want to measure yourself against the devil?
The game is similar to “Absurdle.” With each guess, the game reveals as little information as possible, changing the secret word when necessary.
Otherwise, the rules are the same as Wordle, except that you have unlimited guessing. “You will need the attempts!” the developer writes on the site. The best possible score for Absurdle is four guesses. Definitely lucky, right?!
Wordle Unlimited: The version for addicts
Right! Wordle Unlimited is the version for those who can’t get enough of word guessing. A total of six attempts are available here. The five fields for the letters can be increased to eleven.
But you can also consider this unlimited version as a training ground for the original version.
Airportle: The version for globetrotters
Here’s an aviation game that is probably now known all over the world. Airportle is all about guessing abbreviations. Anyone sitting at the airport can easily cheat. A look at the arrival and departure board is enough.
This version was developed by Scott’s Cheap Flights website. A total of six attempts are available here. After each try, the color of the tiles will change, just like Wordle.
Taylordle: The version for “Swiftys”
Now it gets complicated. Or actually not. Taylordle is a Taylor Swift-inspired Wordle. The Washington Post journalist Rachel Orr found this version on the Internet, among others.
In this creation of the game, the fields have to be filled with everything possible that is somehow related to Taylor Swift – American pop and country singer. These can be song titles, lyrics, or pop culture references.
My Wordle: The version for creative people
Of course, we don’t want to withhold this find from you. My Wordle offers the possibility to create your own Wordle and share it with friends via a link. Washington Post journalist Rachel Orr advises, “Use an inside joke from your family and friends as your answer and see if anyone can guess right.” Good advice! If you’re interested now:
Letterle: The version for clairvoyants
There really isn’t much to say about Letterle. Here you have to guess exactly one letter. Whoever makes it the first time is lucky or psychic. We landed a hit in 19 tries. The letter you were looking for was the “O.” Here is the game.
Antiwordle: The opposite of Wordle, indeed
What’s the opposite of Wordle? Antiwordle, of course! The task is to not guess the right word for as long as possible. Not so easy because if a letter is correct, it must be used again in the next guess. The possibilities run out quickly, but it’s always a lot of fun!
Worldle Unlimited, Wordle Hint, Wordle Yesterday, Questions
Where can I find Wordle?
Wordle is not accessible from an app. You can access the website or the New York Times Games site. While there is no official Wordle mobile app, you can play safely on Android, iPhone, or iPad using any browser. Only one puzzle per day is published. If you can’t solve it, you have to wait until the next day to be able to play again and try to guess a different word.
You can find several applications in the App Store and Play Store with “Wordle” in their name, but they are not the original game. They are, however, good alternatives, especially if you’ve played the day’s game. But keep in mind that none of them are the real Wordle.
How do I play Wordle?
The puzzle offers players just six attempts to guess a predetermined five-letter word that changes every day. The game’s success can be attributed to its yellow and green scoring grids. This indicates that the player has guessed a letter or a combination of letters in its correct location and allows users to share their achievements on social networks and group chats.
What is the best start word in Wordle?
There are different tactics at Wordle. Either you choose a word with the most frequent letters in the language or a word with the most vowels. But there are also various algorithms that have calculated the best start word. According to their results, the best English start words are REAST, RAISE, SOARE, or CRANE.
If you’ve not heard of Wordle, then we can guess you’ve not used the internet in the last few months. Just in case you have somehow missed the article, Wordle is a game where you get six attempts to guess a five-letter word.
But, if you already know what this game is, you’ve probably been wondering: what’s the best strategy? And the question which seems to generate the most discussion online is, what’s the best opening word? We’ve talked in-depth about all these, and we hope you now know what Wordle is and how to win at it. Sometimes the best guess isn’t the most likely to be correct but one that splits up a field of possible answers.
Mathematically, most of the opening words for Wordle we suggested which aren’t obviously terrible, will give you the chance to win in three or four turns. Playing perfectly, you could win with four guesses nine times out of ten – but don’t be too hard on yourself if your guess distribution doesn’t quite reflect that. You’re not an entropy-maximizing computer that can make almost-instantaneous comparisons between thousands of possible words. The most important lesson is: don’t pick FUZZY. And the second most important lesson is that the meta-puzzle of mathematically finding the optimal solution to a puzzle is often just as fascinating as the puzzle itself.
Wordle is a web-based word game created and developed by Welsh software engineer Josh Wardle, and owned and published by The New York Times
Not too fast.. It’s yours to figure out. If you haven’t figured out the answer yet, the answer for today’s Wordle is …