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The “KNOLL”edge You Need To Always Win At Wordle

wordle game grid with black, yellow, and green boxes, on green background.

Lately, a particular word game known as Wordle has been all the rage online. If you haven’t heard the good word about Wordle, it’s a game created by and named after puzzle fan Josh Wardle that challenges you to name a particular five-letter word with only six guesses. With each guess, any letter that isn’t in the mystery word is shaded gray, a letter that is in the word (but was guessed in the wrong spot) is shaded yellow, and a correct letter in the right spot is shaded green. Land five greens, and you win!

🔠Find the best words with Word Finder

If you’re STUCK in Wordle, and need a helping NUDGE, you can always rely on Word Finder! This tool—perfect for games like Scrabble™ and Wordle—should be in any word lover’s pocket, when the right word is just out of reach. Turn those yellow and black boxes into a row of green with just one quick search for that elusive 5-letter word.

This simple game has taken the internet by storm, largely due to how addictive it is to play and how easy it is to share your attempts on social media. Wordle can only be played once a day, and it keeps track of your winning streak and scores. Wardle has chalked up the game’s popularity to this once-a-day rule and the ease of sharing game results with friends.

It seems our users can’t get enough of Wordle either as Wordle answers have been among some of our top lookups recently! Some popularly searched Wordle words include knoll, youth, great, and gnome. With that in mind, we wanted to take a moment to share some popular Wordle strategies and a bunch of words that we and our users like to use as go-to moves in pursuit of Wordle success.

Why five letters?

In interviews, Josh Wardle hasn’t said specifically why he chose five letters. However, he and his partner narrowed it down from the “around 12,000” five-letter English words to 2,500 to use as the master list. It’s possible that the five-letter word goal (and Wordle itself) was inspired by the 1980s game show Lingo, which had very similar rules to Wordle.

Brush up on these spelling rules before the next round.

Most common letters in English

The exact numbers vary according to who measures and how, but the 15 most common English letters in order tend to be:

 

  • E
  • T
  • A
  • O
  • I
  • N
  • S
  • R
  • H
  • L
  • D
  • C
  • M
  • F
  • U

Unsurprisingly, Z, Q, J, and X consistently round out the bottom. As for the letters that begin the most English words, the top five are T, O, A, W, and B. For the end letter, the most common are E, S, T, D, and N.

Most common letters in Wordle

Our Wordle experts (we can call ourselves that, right?) here at Dictionary.com have put together a unique list of the most common letters appearing in Wordle so far (based on past answers).

Letter Percentage
s 45.8
e 44
a 41.1
o 30.1
r 30.1
i 27.7
l 24
t 23.4
n 21.5
u 18.8
d 17.7
y 15.7
c 14.8
p 14.5
m 14.4
h 13.2
g 11.9
b 11.7
k 11.1
w 7.9
f 7.6

Most common pairs

Which two letters go well together? According to letterfrequency.org, the 10 most common letter pairs are:

 

  • TH
  • HE
  • AN
  • IN
  • ER
  • ON
  • RE
  • ED
  • ND
  • HA

What are the best starting words?

According to the experts, some of the best starting words are:

 

  • arose
  • soare
  • later
  • saine
  • tares
  • lares
  • rales
  • rates
  • cares

So, what should you guess if you want to win? Generally speaking, the strategy you pick depends on whether you simply want to have the best chance to win in six tries or you want to win in as few guesses as possible. That being said, the experts agree that going after the vowels is a good opening move. For this reason, the words ADIEU and AUDIO are extremely popular opening guesses that give a lot of info on the vowels. However, those words will leave you at a loss for consonants, and you will likely need to repeat some vowels if you want to learn anything about consonants.

Another common piece of advice is to include as many different commonly used consonants as possible to narrow things down. Words like SIRED, ANTES, TONER, RINSE, and RATES are good first picks as you have both some vowels and top 10 consonants too.

Many statistically-minded people like to make the absolute most out of their starting two guesses by squeezing in all of the top 10 most common letters. That means you need two words that include all of E, T, A, O, I, N, S, R, H, and L. If that’s your game, might we suggest HATER and LIONS? Or maybe RINSE and LOATH?

What Dictionary.com team members love to start with (yes, we are obsessed with Wordle, too)

While trying to stack the odds is all well and good, everyone has their own preferences and favorite words that they like to use. Because at the end of the day, the most important thing is to have fun.

Dictionary.com Employees’ Wordle Survey 

Name: Mike Porter
Job title: senior software engineer
Word: laugh
Why I like it: A good mix of vowels and consonants.

Name: Heena Narottam
Job title: senior software engineer
Word: stear
Why I like it: I like it because it uses the top two most common vowels and the top three most common consonants.

Name: Heather Bonikowski
Job title: lexicographer
Word: ocean
Why I like it: First vowel-heavy word that came to me, and it works pretty well.

Name: Mike Sandula
Job title: senior software engineer
Word: earth, noise, adieu
Why I like it: They cover a lot of common letters. Adieu because of the number of vowels plus it makes me feel fancy.

Name: Jess Miller
Job title: director of marketing
Word: group, heart
Why I like it: I used to do group but switched to heart for more common letters. I switch it up sometimes, though.

Some of our users’ favorite words to start with

Take a look at the best starting words (according to you!) and join in the conversation on Twitter.

 

adieu, aisle, alien, alter, anime, aorta, arise, aside, audio, bacon, beaut, bored, cause, crate, crack, crest, earns, eight, farts, feast, great, harpy, hoist, ideal, ideas, ingot, irate, learn, least, loyal, meany, meats, media, mousy, niche, notes, omega, onery, opera, peace, pears, pilot, pithy, plant, point, ports, power, prior, quest, rages, rates, ratio, rents, rouse, scale, shape, shore, snare, soare, sport, stare, steak, stern, stoic, stony, store, strap, table, teams, tears, those, tired, touch, train, water, yeast, youth

Some highlights from our social media manger:

Have you checked out some of the hardest words to spell?

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