WordleWhat is the best strategy for Wordle?

Ever played Wordle? Ever wondered if there are strategies you can use to win—or at least not lose? Then read on.

Wordle came out in October of 2021, though my wife and I didn’t discover it until a few months later, but after discovering it, we were hooked. Since then, every morning my wife and I sit down and play Wordle together. We average between three and four guesses to guess the daily Wordle word.

Being a word person, I enjoy word games, especially Wordle. And if you love playing Wordle like I do, you may have wondered if there are some strategies you can employ or tips you can follow to help you solve the game in fewer steps, or at least, avoid losing (not solving the word within the six-step limit). Or maybe you played Wordle once or twice but gave up, not feeling confident that you can guess the word before your guesses run out.

So, why should you trust what I say? Simple. Because we have only lost once. And here are our stats since that time:

Screenshot of my Wordle history

As you can see, we most often solve the puzzle in four guesses, followed by three guesses. If you do better, than feel free to share your screen shot with me (see my contact form below).

Why is Wordle so popular?

I’m not sure what makes Wordle so appealing. Besides having to solve for an unknown word, perhaps it’s the sword of Damocles hanging over your head. Because if you fail to solve withing the given six tries, you lose. Wordle is also appealing, I think, because it’s so simple.

Is it easy to fail when playing Wordle?

In our entire time playing Wordle, we have only failed once. The word was FOYER, and it was a dark day. Since then, whenever we play we eventually guess the word within the allotted six tries.

What are some strategies or tips to win at Wordle?

What follows is our strategy for not losing, because in all honesty, not losing is actually the name of the game more than it is “winning” (guessing the word within two or three guesses). I’m not saying that ours is the best or only way to survive each time you play Wordle, but it has worked very well for us over the past couple years.

Tip 1: Play with a friend

Two heads are often better than one when it comes to solving problems, and Wordle is no exception. Sometimes, I come up with a word that fits the letters we have uncovered, and sometimes it is my wife who comes up with the winning guess.

Also, having another person to play with helps ensure that you don’t make fatal mistakes, like guessing a clue that definitely can’t be the solution because it contains an eliminated letter or doesn’t contain a letter you already know needs to be there.

Some days, like today, it was all my wife’s doing, as we are able to solve Wordle in three guesses thanks to her solution. Other days, it’s all me. Again, having another person to play with helps you generate more possible solutions and helps keep you from making hasty guesses.

 Tip 2: Choose your first word and stick with it

Your first, starting word is key, so choose carefully, and stick with it.

So, what is the most common word used to start Wordle?

Any quick Google search will reveal many popular first words to use for Wordle, but ADIEU being the most popular. Other popular choices include SALET, SLATE, ORATE, and the one we use, IRATE.

There is no perfect first word, but most have in common commonly used consonants and two, and sometimes three, vowels.

Sometimes, your first word will work in your favor, and sometimes it won’t. But I recommend sticking with it so that you have a consistent approach.

Tip 3: Choose your second word wisely, and stick with it

After you choose your first word, choose a second word that complements it. For instance, given that our first word, IRATE, has an I, A, and E, we chose a second word with an O, and a U, namely SOUND. We have an alternative second word that has an O, a U, and a Y, namely SOUPY. Sometimes we use SOUND, and other times—depending on what letters were revealed in the first turn, we use SOUPY.

Every so often, when the I, A, and E  show up after we play IRATE, we abandon SOUND or SOUPY and instead guess a consonant-heavy word, like LYMPH or NYMPH in order to increase our chances of revealing the other consonants in the Wordle word.

Tip 4: Solve to narrow down the consonants

Because our alphabet has only six vowels (if you include Y), it’s easier to figure out which vowels are present in the wordle word than it is to figure out which of the 20 consonants might be present.

We have found that once we know the vowels and have guessed a word that tells us where they appear, our next task is to pick the right consonants. But because we now only have a few guesses left, we often employ a simple strategy to narrow down the list of possible words.

First, we make a list of what we can see as the possible solutions, given what letters we’ve uncovered so far. And then we guess a word, sometimes called a burner word, that is not a solution but is a word designed to help us find the correct remaining letters/consonants. In other words, this guess is a throwaway, but its purpose is to prevent us from spending the rest of our guesses trying to find the right word.

For instance, let’s say that you first guess, IRATE, yielded green letter tiles on R, A, and E. Even though that may look great at first, you  now have several possible solutions. Your Wordle word could be BRAVE, GRAVE, SLAVE, FRAME, CRANE, CRAVE, CRAZE, GRAZE, GRACE, BRACE, or GRAPE and maybe a few others I have missed. So far, that’s at least eleven words for five remaining guesses. You could just start guessing and then eliminate as you go, hoping you’ll guess the Wordle word, but you risk running out of guesses. The best, safest way to go is to cook up a guess word that contains as many of the common letters for the remaining possibilities as you can fit into it, guess it, and then see which letters light up. In this list, you have an S, G, C, B, V, Z, N and P. So, let’s say you guess SCAMP, and nothing but the A lights up (since it you already know it’s in the solution). You have then narrowed your solution down to BRAVE, GRAVE, or GRAZE. You now need guess only one, maybe two, of these to get to the solution.  

Tip 5: Think smart and take your time

Remember, you only have six tries to guess one word of a possible few thousand, so take your time and be careful in your guesses and when you have a few letters and too many possible solutions for the number of guesses remaining, do as I did in that last tip and guess a word that contains several of the letters from multiple solutions. And as you try to figure out all of the possible solutions remaining, take your time and stare at the keyboard before making that guess. And of course, don’t be too proud to use pen and paper to jot down your possible solutions and possible guesses to find the remaining consonants.

Tip 6: Again, play not to lose rather than to win

Again, the goals is not to lose more than it is to win. Wordle solutions can be maddeningly easy but tricky to guess. Another recent puzzle had DADDY as the solution. Even if you knew, as we did, that the word ended in Y and had an A, there were a lot of possible solutions, especially solutions that contained the letter D, since CADDY and CANDY were also possible solutions.

Just take your time, and try not to lose. That’s the name of the game. Below are a few more common questions I have tried to answer.

Don′t just ask me, ask WordleBot

Again, if you want proof that I know what I′m talking about, here is a screen shot I took recently revealing our recent Wordle stats, including that we beat the Wordle Bot more often than he/it beats us. Granted, we score lower in the skill category, but WordleBot routinely scores whatever guess he makes as a 99, and almost always gives us a lower score, even when we′ve guessed the actual solution and he hasn′t. Go figure:

Our Wordle stats prove we are onto something

What is the best strategy for the first word in Wordle?

You may also be wondering what are some of the best, or the three best, starting words for Wordle.

Again, you want to pick a first word that solves as many vowels and common consonants as you can. This is why the word ADIEU is popular, and this is why my wife and I use IRATE. The WordleBot uses SLATE, which is a very good word, too. Experiment with these and a few other favorite starting words (like SALET, ORATE, AUDIO, LEAST, etc.).

The key with choosing a starting word, or your two or three starting words, is to cover most of all of the vowels and the most popular consonants, like R, S, T, L, and N.

Your second word should round out the vowels that are left un-guessed and also include consonants that are common—or might go with the letters that you now know are in the solution after the first guess. Our second starting word is SOUND, but sometimes we use SOUPY when we suspect the word might end in Y.

If my wife and I still have too many choices left after we guess IRATE and SOUND/SOUPY, we sometimes use LYMPH or NYMPH as our third word in order to cover a bunch of un-guessed consonants.

What′s the best way to complete Wordle in three attempts?

No matter how skilled you are, luck plays a big part in guessing the Wordle word within three guesses.

Generally, you want to stick to your first two guess words and then make an educated guess depending on what letters have been revealed. Of course, there may be too many words/guesses remaining, so sometimes it is best to guess a burner word (a word that eliminates a buch of letters but isn′t the solution) to narrow down your choices.

What percentage of people get the Wordle correct?

Most days, 98 percent of those guessing will guess the correct word by the sixth guess. Most will guess it by at least the fourth or fifth guess.

What are the odds of getting Wordle in two tries?

The percentage of those who Wordle by the second guess is quite low, usually around 3% to 5%.

What is the most common first letter in Wordle?

The letter S is said to be the most common first letter in a Wordle solution—some 18% of Wordle solutions begin with the letter S.

What happens if you enter a non-word in Wordle?

If you attempt to guess a word that is not in Wordle’s database—a word that isn’t a word, usually—the word will jiggle back and forth and Wordle will reject it. You won’t lose a guess for guessing a word that is not a word, but Wordle will require you to guess a valid word before revealing any letters in a guess.

What is a burner word in Wordle?

As I mentioned above, a burner word is a word you guess in Wordle (that you know is not the right answer) that you use to eliminate, or guess, several letters at a time. Using burner words is essential to playing Wordle and winning (not losing) and will help you narrow down your remaining choices, thus improving your chances of guessing the solution before you run out of tries.

What is the least popular letter in Wordle?

The least popular, or least used, letter in Wordle is a tie between J and Q. These are followed by X and then Z.

Happy writing!

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