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How to crack Wordle: 5-letter words to use first

Strategies for making your first guess your best guess

What is the greatest five-letter word to begin with while attempting to solve the daily Wordle puzzle? Several of us have go-to words that we employ to improve our word-guessing and puzzle-solving abilities, and there are some statistically favorable starting words with a range of widely used letters. On your first attempt, you should select a five-letter word with five different and regularly used letters, such as “arise” or “roast.”

Similarly, you should generally avoid starting the daily puzzle with a word like “qapik,” “queue,” or “qajat” — all of which Wordle accepts — because they employ fewer frequent letters in English terms and include repeated vowels.

According to one study, the letter E appears the most frequently in English-language terms from a shortened edition of the Oxford Dictionary, followed by the letters A, R, I, O, T, N, and S. Starting words with such widely used letters, such as “ratio,” “irate,” “stain,” or “stare,” are excellent choices. Because there are more English-language words beginning with S than any other letter, a starting word beginning with S is also a reasonable initial guess. (If the words described earlier in this paragraph return all gray, try “lurch” or “cloud” for a different collection of often used unique letters.)

The word “ouija” includes all but E (and occasionally Y) and is a suitable beginning word if you want a diversity of vowels, even though J is one of the least often used letters in English words, according to the aforementioned study.

For those who aren’t interested in pure efficiency, here’s how Polygon’s Wordle gamers start the problem every day.


In my first guess, I try to use a combination of common and rare letters (es). The more frequent letters are for process of elimination — basically trying to prevent the agony of having four of the five letters established, and a last letter that may be a lot of alternative choices. Having said that, I wouldn’t classify myself as a strategist. It’s more enjoyable, in my opinion, to toss out random thoughts and see if you get any leads. Nicolette Clark


The first is to punch off four vowels in one go, and the second is because it would be hilarious if you did it on the first try. Disclaimer: I got the concept from someone on Twitter, but it’s too fantastic to pass up. Radulovic, Petrana


I’ve fallen off the Wordle bandwagon in the last week, but my go-to method is to start with a five-letter word with as many vowels as possible to determine the basic structure of the day’s word. After then, it’s all guesswork. —Egan, Toussaint


I’m a big believer in never playing the same word again. I prefer chaos. Peace comes from understanding that the purpose of Wordle is not to get the perfect word in the fewest turns, but to get the job done in the space available. Wordle is real life. Having said that, if I’ve opted to Wordle before coffee, I’ll go for one of these words that appear to check the Wheel of Fortune “top letter” boxes. Matthew Patches


This was stolen from someone on Twitter. It has the two most crucial vowels to recognize, as well as the two most important consonants to rule out. It seldom comes up empty and generally provides you a good lead on the second line. It appeals to the logical, problem-solving half of my brain. But I’m not sure I enjoy playing Wordle in this manner. It’s strategic, but it lacks personality; it’s almost cheap. And I miss the pleasure of attempting to intuit anything with a random initial guess. —Welsh, Oli


I, like many others at Polygon, like the uncertainty of learning a new term every day. But, since I’m human, I have fallback words for those mornings when I scored in five or six tries the day before. I also nicked the words “roast” and “ouija” from Nicole Carpenter and Toussaint. I’m like a starting-word Robin Hood, if Robin Hood retained all he took and was nothing like me. —Michael Mahardy


I’m in the same boat as everyone else here (hey, “boats” isn’t a terrible one) – I enjoy the challenge of coming up with a different initial word every day to keep Wordle from being a routine, mechanical activity. The goal (ooh, “goal”) is to always strike at least two vowels and a handful of frequent consonants without repeating any letters. But I enjoy the sense of coming up with a new beginning point every day and seeing what comes up in the process of whittling down the skeleton key that might suit every lock. Tamara Robinson


Wordle has been a lifesaver at a difficult period in my life, providing a pleasant daily thought exercise in which I can try to clear my head and focus on an energizing task for a few minutes. (Or, oh, many minutes.) As a result, I’ve tried to accept each day’s challenge as it comes and not overthink the initial gambit. In other words, I come up with a new beginning word every day based on whatever comes to the top of my mind at the time.

Sure, you want to follow the fundamental guidelines of Wheel of Fortune and Scrabble in terms of letter frequency — i.e., it probably doesn’t make sense to begin with a word that contains J or Z — and it’s a good idea to include at least two vowels. But that’s about all I’ll say about Wordle strategy. Any more, and it begins to seem like I’m calculating probabilities rather than contemplating the marvelous variety of the English language. Nobody likes word games over math games. Sarkar, Samit

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