What is Wordle?

Eliana Linder

If 2022 gave the world one good thing it is Wordle. This new online game has taken the internet by storm and has become a staple in millions of people’s morning routines. The online puzzle is fairly simple and provides an entertaining brain warm-up guaranteed to kick start your day.

The game has a simple objective—guess the correct word. At first, the player is presented with 6 rows of 5 black boxes each. The player has 6 tries to guess the word and when a word is guessed, each letter will change colors. Gray means it is not in the word, yellow means it is in the word but not in the right place, and green means it is in the word and in the right spot. Using these clues, one continues to try and guess the right word. Each day the word switches, and it is the same for everyone, causing a problem of spoilers. 

Everyday, there are likely shouts of “Don’t say anything, I didn’t do it yet!” It is acceptable to say something vague like “I got it in 5,” or “The Wordle was really hard today,” but saying the word will surely result in angry looks from others.

Wordle players are constantly debating what the best word to start with is. This has grabbed the attention of many, and linguists are putting in their two-cents. A popular word to start with is IRATE; this golden word has the 3 most common vowels and the 2 most common consonants, providing the best chance of having at least one of the letters in the word. Another common starter is ADIEU which has 4 vowels— almost guaranteeing that one of them will be in the word. Some people like to start with a set of words that covers many different letters. For example, many start with GLENT, BRICK, and JUMPY. These three words never repeat a letter, creating the statistically best way to start Wordle; however, this strategy uses up 3 chances to guess the word. Many players don’t approach Wordle with a calculated strategy; they just pick a random word, look at the letters, and put the first 5-letter word that comes to mind—arguably, this is the more fun way to play. Personally, ADIEU and STORY are the ideal words to start a Wordle with, covering all of the vowels and common consonants.

Anyone who has been on social media in the past couple of weeks has probably seen a grid of grey, yellow, and green boxes, which represents how quickly the person got the Wordle on that day. This is an inside joke that only a certain niche in society will understand, and there are always a few outsiders in the comments with questions about why so many people are posting a bunch of random, colored boxes. Social media has certainly helped spark the popularity of Wordle; for example on TikTok, #wordle has over 165M views! 

Recently, the New York Times bought Wordle from its original creator Josh Wardle, a software engineer, who developed it for his wife. The New York Times stated that “the game would initially remain free to new and existing players,” and it was reported to be bought in the low seven-figure range. This could mean that the beloved Wordle could have ads all over the page, or even worse, only be available to New York Times subscribers.  All Wordle fans are praying that the NYT will keep the game free and not hide it behind a paywall.

The best part about Wordle is that it has more spin-offs than Spider-Man. Finished Wordle but still want to play? Try Wordle Unlimited which changes the word from game to game rather than day to day. Looking for a challenge? Try Absurdle which constantly changes the word and has the wackiest answers! Are you a hard-core Taylor Swift fan? Check out Taylordle. In this spin-off, all of the words are Taylor Swift related! Usually do a daily crossword puzzle? Then Crosswordle could be for you, intertwining wordle with a crossword! Whatever you like, there definitely is some version of Wordle available.

Wordle is a fun brain teaser that has captivated many. From adults playing on the Long Island Rail Road during their work commute to kids heading to school on the bus, there is nothing better than getting the Wordle. The only downside about Wordle is having to wait an entire day to play again!