The key to beating Wordle is to use the best Wordle start words. You risk losing your streak without an excellent start word. Nobody wants it to happen to them. Even if you are a little Wordle expert, a good start word can help you transform 4/6s into 3/6s or even 2/6s. Even the NYT’s amazing WordleBot tool — unfortunately behind a paywall – recognizes the importance of a great start word.
I have written about it before. I’ve won every Wordle, except No. My number one tip is to use a good beginning word. This is what I will discuss.
Please continue reading to learn more about the Wordle start words, their math, and the alternatives. You can also pre-order Wordle, the party game available this fall.
Lastly, if you’re not looking for tips or strategy, but want a short cut to help you with Wordle, try a tool that can unscramble words. You can enter a group of letters that you’ve guessed correctly and haven’t used, and it can tell you different word combinations you can try.
Best Wordle start words: Most common letters.
Before we get into the list, let’s examine its science.
It doesn’t take a genius mind to see that English letters are more common than they are in English. You are more likely to find an A in a word than a Z.
Peter Norvig, Google’s director of research, created a list of the most frequently used letters in English in a paper called English letter frequency counts (opens in a new tab). His research revealed that the most common letters in English were “E,” T,” and “A,” while “J,” Q,” and “Z” were less common.
But, this list is based more on Wordle answers than words in general. To discover which letters are most frequent in the game, you would need to analyze all of them.
It’s straightforward. Wordle’s answers can be downloaded from the website’s HTML code. After that, you can do some number crunching. This is the list of the most commonly used letters you will get when you do this:
The list is based on Wordle words and correct Wordle answers. While the game accepts over 12,000 words as guesses for the game, only 2,309 reasonable solutions are obtained.
It’s an exciting idea, but it’s the beginning of the best Wordle starter word main course.
What is the most effective Wordle start words?
Many people have tried to use math to find the best Wordle start words.
One of them was Tyler Glaiel, a game designer and programmer.
After analyzing all 12,972 words, the algorithm found the following options as the best starting options:
Glaiel concluded that ROATE, for reasons too complex to discuss here, is the best Wordle starting word if you need to rule out any possible answers quickly.
ROATE isn’t in Wordle’s list of possible answers, so that you won’t get a 1/6. Glaiel recommends that you start with RISE.
Programmer Bertrand Fan used a similar approach (opens in a new window) to create a very similar list:
Fan’s analysis shows that the top three Wordle words don’t appear in Wordle’s list of possible answers. STARE would be the statistically most popular Wordle start word.
Coincidentally Stare was the word that some Tom’s Guide staff members picked independently months ago without seeing any research. We’d choose that one.
This decision was based more on common sense. After all, S is the most frequent first letter in Wordle answers, A the most common third letter, and E the most popular fifth letter. T and R are, however, the most common consonants in the game.
This is it. The best Wordle word for the Tom’s Guide Team is STARE.
WordleBot’s top Wordle start words.
The NYT’s WordleBot tool is an excellent WordleBot tool. It has its list with the best Wordle start word lists — and it should since Wordle’s current administrators created it.
It is calculated based on the number of Wordle’s 2,309 solutions left after playing it. Also, it takes an average of a few other metrics, such as how many steps are required to solve it. By that measure, Wordle’s best start word is CRANE.
This is surprising to me because STARE scores 71.8 points more than CRANE on average solutions. Wordlebot gives CRANE 99/100, while STARE gets 97. It’s presumably better at math than me since it’s a computer.
These are WordleBot’s top 10 Wordle start words
This list ranks STARE at number 12 — it’s pretty good, but not the best.
Do you need lots of vowels in your Wordle word’s start word?
People swear by the ADIEU, AUDIO, and ABOUT games because they allow you to use three to four vowels at the beginning.
This could be an alternative method since almost every Wordle answer contains at least one vowel. It makes sense to identify it as quickly as possible. However, I would not recommend that you do so. ADIEU is not an answer to Wordle so you won’t get a 1/6. The AUDIO is decent but doesn’t contain an E. This is the game’s most frequent vowel and the most commonly used letter. Ditto ABOUT.
CANOE is not bad, but C and N aren’t nearly as standard as S, T, or R when you think about consonants. So what you gain in one area, you lose in another. OUIJA is a ridiculous suggestion. It doesn’t have an E, but it does have the J, which is the least likely letter to appear in the game.
Vowels are essential in the game, so consider vowels when you think of a second sentence. Speaking of which…
What is the best follow-up word for you?
Sometimes, even an excellent beginning word will not earn you any yellow or blue results. You’ll need to find a second word if that happens.
The choice of which word you choose will depend on your first word. You won’t want to repeat letters that you have used before. If you assume that you are following this advice (which I am sure you are) and using STARE for your Wordle start word, I would recommend PHONY or COULD as second choices.
PHONY is statistically more popular as a second-word option since Y is the fifth most familiar letter. Both COULD and DOING use two vowels. However, playing your vowels early is a good idea, as this strategy has been described.
However, just starting words will only get you so far. Math can teach you a lot about Wordle. I have done this. I looked at every Wordle answer to find patterns. Here’s.
If you find the original game too simple or complex, I have also compiled a list of best Wordle alternatives.