How I win at Wordle (when I win at Wordle)

I don’t share my daily Wordle result, but I do play it most days. I get it in 5 or fewer tries 94% of the time, 3 or fewer 32% of the time. I wanted to share what I do in case it spares anyone else some frustration.

The first key is to memorize this combination of nonsense words that will help you remember English letter frequency: etaoin shrdlu.

I try to start with a word that uses five of those letters.

Next there are two tricks I rely on most of the time:

  1. Familiarity with common letter combinations/placements
  2. Systematic movement of yellow letters

The first one involves things like knowing that H is often part of a two-letter combo like SH, TH, or CH, and that these combos usually occur at the beginning or end of words. Likewise thinking about how there are vowels in most words, different things that often come before E at the end of a word (like ATE, ACE, ALE), or how two letters often appear together (like UI).

As for the second: once I get a yellow letter, I try words that use that letter in different positions so I can eliminate places where it doesn’t belong.

The last thing I do before random guessing is look at the unused letters on the keyboard and try to build words combining them with the pieces I already know.

I hope this has been helpful. I’ll try to post a sort of “play-aloud” with screenshots and my thought processes soon.

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Kimberly Hirsh, PhD @KimberlyHirsh
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