Words About Wordle

By: Ellis Keipper

Wordle is a game that has taken the internet by storm over the past few weeks. The origins of the game are actually quite sweet. The creator of the game, Josh Wardle, made it for his partner, who loved word games. Initially, the game was only made to play for him, his partner, and his family. On November 1, 2021, he released it to the world. Over the next few months it became a smash hit. Twitter has deemed it the first viral trend of 2022. In January 2022, Twitter revealed that since its release, Wordle has been mentioned 840,000 times on the app. 

The premise of the game is that you have 6 guesses to figure out a 5-letter word. Each guess reveals clues to what the word might be–such as letter placement in the word. In the English language, there are about 12,000 5-letter words. Many will probably agree with Josh Wardle–in that most of those words are far too obscure for any average person to guess. To counter this, he had his partner sifted through the list of 12,000 words and narrow them down to a relatively short list of about 2,500 words. The word list is actually written into the source code of the game. A source-code hack revealed that if players so wish, they can access the full word list and order they will be put in through the year 2027. Of course, it’s no fun to spoil the entire game for yourself, but if you’re interested in seeing exactly what words are available to use, that is at your disposal. 

As of late, the game has fallen under controversy. On January 31, 2022, Josh Wardle announced that he decided to sell the game to the New York Times. This decision has left many worried about the game’s future. Initially, many were worried the game would become pay-to-play which would ruin the communal aspect it provides. NYT responded to this by saying that the game will initially remain free to play. They later added to this statement by saying that soon the archive of words will be pay-to-play. As fans of the game started to transition to NYT, they were soon to note that the words have gotten noticeably harder. Words like “swill” and “tacit” have garnered the attention and anger of many fans. Despite this, NYT claims that they have done very little to change the word list or order. The only changes made to the game are that they’ve removed exactly 6 words: fibre, lynch, agora, pupal, slave, wench.

As for strategies in the game, there are many to choose from. My starter word is usually “salet” which is a word used to describe a French helmet. From there, I usually try to get the letters R and N out of the way– as well as the vowels. Using this strategy, I usually get the word on the third guess. Other popular starter words include style, hatch, audio, crane, and adieu. 

So is Wordle good for us? Is Wordle truly deserving of its quickly-gained popularity or is it just another trend that will fade out in the near future? I’d say it deserves it. I think it’s upstanding that a game as popular as Wordle is still requiring players to think and use inferences that most video games don’t warrant. Not to mention, the communal aspect of the game where every player faces the same, new challenges and can share and compare scores is awesome. If you’re looking for a fun way to start your morning and keep your mind stimulated, I highly recommend playing Wordle.


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