These strategic words will get you to those green squares in no time.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the game Wordle? It’s pretty hard to miss these days.
The strategic word game has positively swept the internet in recent weeks. Some are comparing it to baking sourdough as the craze of choice for a new phase of the pandemic. The New York Times liked it enough to cover its backstory at length (spoiler: its creator, a software engineer, made it as a love offering for his partner) …and then buy the game for a sum in the “low seven figures.”
Wordle start words matter (a lot) to serious players determined to flaunt their skills: Even if you’ve never actually played the game, you’re probably pretty familiar with the grid of yellow and green squares its users can display on social media to show just how quickly they solved the puzzle. You get six tries tops — but devoted fans love to show off their skills when they complete the game in just two or three. (And yes, it’s probably this high-profile score flaunting that has won the game some notoriety among people who choose to be in the anti-Wordle camp.)
Another unique feature of Wordle: Players only get one puzzle a day. (There’s no official option to binge on endless archives — at least for now.) And that means you’re going to want to make sure each play really counts.
What word should I start with in Wordle?
Sure, you could just choose any five-letter start word that strikes your fancy. But did you know that you can also choose strategic Wordle start words that can get you to those green squares even faster (because… math)? Consider these options to improve your next game.
The goal of Wordle is to guess the 5-letter word in 6 tries (or fewer).
Best Wordle start words
If you’ve ever watched Wheel of Fortune, you know that it only makes sense to start out by guessing letters that occur most commonly in the English language.
Google’s director of research Peter Norvig analyzed all the available data from Google Books to generate a list of most commonly used letters in English. His report concluded that the most commonly used letters are E, T, and A. Here’s the top 10 in order:
Best Wordle starting word mathematically
So it stands to reason, then, that you’d want to choose a Wordle start word that includes as many of the most common letters as possible, without repeating any.
TikTok user crvlwanek used his computer science know-how (and, evidently, abundant free time) to generate an algorithm that spit out the best Wordle start words based on all past answers to the puzzle so far. These words are:
For more variations on Wordle start word options, consider others that use five of the most commonly used letters without repeating — such as RESIN or NOTES.
One strategy is to choose a Wordle start word that includes as many of the most common letters as possible.
How to win Wordle
Because every word must have a vowel, it’s also a smart strategy to kick off your daily play using a World start word packed with vowels — ideally three or more if possible.
Consider these examples of vowel-packed options:
Or, if you find it boring to use any version of the same starting word every time — or simply don’t see the point in ruining a perfectly fun pastime with overwrought strategy — just do you instead. Start with whatever word makes you happy… after all, Wordle’s just a game! (And, of course, there’s always sourdough.)
ALESANDRA DUBIN Freelance Writer