Wordle has taken over the internet in a way no one saw coming. When the new year arrived, suddenly everyone was playing Wordle daily, doing their best to think up the best first words in Wordle that may hold the key to each day’s success. We too have caught the Wordle bug, and it’s led us to try and think of new words and Wordle strategies that may help keep those streaks alive and that winning percentage pristine. With that in mind, here are what we consider to be the best starting words for Wordle, along with some key strategies from some of our avid players on staff.
Wordle: best words to start with
If you prefer a list of the best first words for Wordle, we recommend starting any given day with these. If you’d rather hear directly from some of our Wordle-obsessed editors, be sure to check out their more specific strategies below. The key is often to quickly find vowels or common consonants that belong in each day’s word. From that starting point, we’ve identified these words as some of the very best first words for Wordle:
My go-to strategy with Wordle is two-pronged: Concentrate on the vowels and then narrow it down with the most common consonants. I’ll start with a vowel-heavy word like ADIEU, which usually identifies at least one letter (two if I’m lucky). Based on that first try, I’ll then try and find a word that incorporates consonants like T, S, and R on the second line, and if I’m feeling particularly smart, I’ll try and fit in the vowel O somewhere as well. This strategy usually leads me to a solution by line 4 (85% of my wins in the last two weeks have been at 4), although it has led me astray once (damn you TIGER). — Randy Ramsay
I’ve loved word games for just about as long as I’ve been able to string words together, so a lot of what I pull from when I strategize in Wordle is the undisputed classic among them: Scrabble. Scrabble assigns point values to letters based on how commonly they appear in the English language, with the lowest-scoring letters being the most popular. If, like me, you’ve invested far too much time into that game, try to think of which letters have the lowest value and make sure you can squeeze ‘em in your first guess. I tend to find “ATONE” and “IRATE” are good first tries–you manage to check the puzzle for three vowels and a couple of commonly used letters in locations they typically appear in. Another tip: think in pairs as you continue. If you know an “h” is the second letter, try getting both an “s” and a “c” in your next guess, since they commonly go in front of “h.” — Jessica Howard
When I first started playing Wordle, I was all over the place. I would repeatedly try letters I knew weren’t there, and it took me a solid week to remember that letters could be repeated (seriously, Wordle needs some kind of indicator for repeated letters). As a seasoned player going on three weeks now, I’ve finally got my strategy. I start with ARISE, a solid word that knocks out three vowels and two common consonants. I aim to get vowels placed as quickly as possible because for some reason my brain can work around those foundations easier than consonants. I don’t understand why either, but since I’ve implemented that strategy, I typically guess the word in three or four goes and haven’t missed a single one. — Lucy James
My advice is at odds with what you’d probably expect: Don’t stress too much about it. I’m eager to guess the day’s word in as few tries as possible, but I’m mindful of not turning Wordle into a chore by trying to min/max my way to that goal. While I do try to think of words with vowels and more common letters (I stay away from X, Z, and Q), I try a different word every day and just go with the flow. I initially lamented that Wordle doesn’t let you go back and replay old puzzles, but I’ve quickly grown fond of its one-per-day-and-that’s-it structure. Over-aggressive tweeting from fellow players aside, it’s remained a relaxing treat by not taking it too seriously or worrying about using the perfect word right from the get-go. — Chris Pereira
My approach to Wordle, and many of life’s big challenges, started by looking to a group of people that I have often sought guidance and advice from, and believe to be enlightened thinkers that are unmatched by any other scholars. As expected, they gave me exactly what I was looking for: a versatile starting word that, thus far, has yielded excellent results. Of course, I am talking about the legendary Staten Island-based hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan and, naturally, the word I always begin with is C.R.E.A.M. As we all know, track eight on Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) posits that “cash rules everything around me, C.R.E.A.M. get the money, dollar dollar bill y’all.” Time has proven this adage correct, but within the context of Wordle, CREAM also gets the solution. Dollar, dollar bills y’all. –Tamoor Hussain
If all else fails and you think your current strategy just doesn’t work no matter what, you could always go the route of this devoted player:
I do FARTS because if the word is ever FARTS and I get it on the first try it will be the best day of my life.
— Ryan McComb (@ryan__mccomb) January 3, 2022
Good luck with your next puzzle, fellow Wordle nerds!