In the English language, there are approximately 12,500 five-letter words, which means there are roughly that many opportunities to win at Wordle, the wildly popular online word game that’s become a daily obsession for millions of people around the world.
Despite the simplistic nature of the game, and the total lack of community built around it, discussing Wordle wins and displaying them on social media (without spoiling the daily word puzzle), is almost as popular as playing the word game itself.
But how do you win? How do you ensure that you don’t waste your six precious chances to guess the right word? First, a reminder about the game mechanics:
The game, which you can find here, opens as a grid of five-by-six empty squares. There’s a virtual keyboard below where you type in your five-letter guess and hit enter. You can also backspace before you hit enter. You cannot enter letters out of sequence or drag and drop them.
This is a simple game. For the record, we’re only talking about the basic level here, not ‘Hard Mode,” which requires that you use any reveals in subsequent guesses.
Once you enter the letters, the game immediately color codes your entries:
Gray: Letter is not in the word.
Orange: It’s in there but in the wrong place.
Green: Right letter, right place.
To win, you have to guess the word in six attempts.
How you do that is not as simple as it seems, especially if you want to win, and not just in six tries, but in as few attempts as possible for ultimate Wordle street cred.
Start with vowels
Virtually every world has vowels in it, and they can define the open sound of the word (just as consonants can define the plosives or hard sounds). Find a word that can use as many of the AEIOU (and sometimes Y) letters as possible. Even if they’re not in the right spot, vowels will help you build the Wordle more quickly.
Don’t repeat letters until you have to
“Feeds” might sound like a brilliant word, but it’s wasting a precious spot on a duplicate letter. There are Wordle answers that feature double letters but wasting early turns on a duplicate vowel (or, say, a double “ll” in “hello”) means one fewer chance to guess at a letter you do need.
Use as many letters in a real word as possible on your first turn
A word like “Banes” or, as the TechRadar team joked, “Farts,” are good examples of letter combinations that offer a nice mix of vowels and consonants and can be excellent building block letters for the correct word. Unless, of course, you luck out and the Wordle for the day is “Farts.” Other excellent starting points as suggested by the TechRadar team are “Death,” “Irons,” and “House.”
Take your time on every turn
Do not rush. The key to winning Wordle is playing it like a strategy game akin to chess. You don’t just move a piece in reaction to the last move. You think through this move and the four potential thereafter. Wordle requires the same kind of patience, care, and strategic thinking. If you can’t think through letter permutations in your head, write them down. When you’re satisfied, enter your next guess.
Think through words and letter combinations
Get a dictionary or use this page to examine existing five-letter words that might fit the one you’re building in Wordle.
Pay attention to those results
What Wordle tells you about your guess is everything. The construction of the full word can hang on a letter, even one in the wrong place. Also with this, make every turn count. There are no throw-away turns.
Make the next word a different one
Unless you hit a jackpot on that first guess, try a completely different set of five letters (a word of course) on your second try. You will instantly have double the amount of information to work with to possibly make a correct, educated guess on the third attempt.
Don’t waste time with nonsense words
Nonsense word combinations are a complete waste of time. Wordle doesn’t read them and can’t tell you anything about the letters within.
Expand your vocabulary
Make sure you know what is and isn’t a word. There’s nothing more gutting than entering what you think is nonsense only to have it accepted as your last, incorrect Wordle guess.
Don’t give up
If you’re truly stumped, take a break and then look at your grid again. You just might have one of those bright word ideas and solve the Wordle of the day,
While we can’t guarantee that following all of these tips will turn you into a Wordle champion, they’re almost guaranteed to lower your Wordle frustration.