Best Wordle Starter Words to Help You Keep Your Sequence
The best Wordle seed words are the key to beating the game and avoiding having to search for today’s Wordle answer.
Without a good starting word, you risk losing your streak – and no one wants this fate reserved for them. Also, even if you’re a bit of a Wordle expert by now, having a good seed word will help you turn 4/6s into 3/6s and even 2/6s.
I’ve written before about how I’ve played every word so far and lost only once, and number 1 on my list of tips is to use a good seed word. So that’s what I’m going to discuss here.
Read on and I’ll explain what the best Wordle starter words are, the math behind them, and what alternatives to try.
Most common letters
Best Wordle Starter Words: Most Common Letters
Before we dive into the list of words, let’s break down the science behind it.
You don’t have to be a genius to realize that it’s a good idea to use letters that appear more frequently in English. For example, you are more likely to find an “A” in the word than a “Z”.
In a research article on The frequency of English letters matters, Peter Norvig, director of research at Google, analyzed data from Google Books to compile a list of the most commonly used letters in English. His findings concluded that “E”, “T”, and “A” were the top three, while “J”, “Q”, and “Z” were the least common.
However, this list is based on words in general, rather than Wordle answers – so to really know which letters appear most often in the game, you need to analyze them all.
Fortunately, it’s easy to do. Since Wordle’s answers are all freely available in the HTML of the website, it’s actually quite simple to download them and then do some math. Here is the list of the most frequently used letters you get when you do this:
Note that the list above is based on correct Wordle answers, rather than Wordle words; the game accepts over 12,000 words as guesses, but only 2,309 are valid solutions.
That’s interesting, then, but that’s just the appetizer for the best Wordle Start Word main course to follow…
Wordle Best Seed Words
What are Wordle’s best seed words?
Several people have attempted to use math to determine the best Wordle seed words.
One of them was programmer and game designer Tyler Glaiel, who assigned each letter of Wordle’s 12,972 possible hypotheses a score of 0, 1, or 2, depending on whether or not it was included in one of them. of the 2,309 responses, and whether it’s in the right place.
After checking the 12,972 words, the algorithm determined that the best starting options are:
For reasons too complex to elaborate here, Glaiel concludes that TURN is the best Wordle seed word if you want to rule out possible answers as quickly as possible.
However, since ROATE is not in Wordle’s list of possible answers, you will never get a 1/6 with it. For this reason, Glaiel recommends starting with RAISE.
Programmer Bertrand Fan took a similar approach and unsurprisingly came up with a very similar list:
- TO RESEARCH
Since the first four are not in Wordle’s list of possible answers, this would make LOOK the best starting Wordle statistically, based at least on Fan analysis.
Coincidentally, Stare is the word chosen independently by some of the Tom’s Guide team weeks ago, without having seen this research, so that’s the one we would choose.
This decision was rather based on common sense; after all, S is the most common first letter among Wordle answers, A is the most common third letter, and E is the most common fifth letter. T and R, meanwhile, are the two most common consonants in the game.
So there you have it, for the Tom’s Guide team at least, the Wordle’s best seed word is STARE.
vowels and words
Should Your Wordle Start Word Have Lots of Vowels?
Some people swear by playing ADIEU, AUDIO, ABOUT, CANOE, or OUIJA because they allow you to use three or four vowels at the start.
This can be a good alternative approach, as every Wordle answer has at least one vowel, so it makes sense to identify it as soon as possible. But I personally wouldn’t go that route. GOODBYE isn’t a Wordle answer, so you’ll never get a 1/6 with that. AUDIO is correct, but it doesn’t contain an E – which is not only the most common vowel, but also the most common letter in the game. Ditto ABOUT.
CANOE isn’t bad, but C and N aren’t nearly as common as S, T, or R when it comes to consonants, so what you gain in one aspect you lose in the other. And OUIJA is just a silly suggestion: it doesn’t have an E but it does have a J, which is the second least likely letter to appear in the game.
However, vowels are very important in the game in general, so take that into account when thinking of a second word. Speaking of what…
Wordle’s Best Second Words
What about the best tracking word?
Of course, sometimes even a good seed word won’t net you any yellow or green results. If that happens, you’ll need a good second word.
Which you choose will obviously depend on your first word, as you won’t want to repeat letters you’ve already used. But if I assume you take this advice (you will, right) and use STARE as your Wordle seed word, I would recommend PHONY, COULD or DOING as good second options.
PHONY is statistically a better option as a second word because Y is one of the most frequent fifth letters. However, COULD and DOING both use two extra vowels, and using your vowels early is always a good strategy, as described above.
Of course, starting words can only get you so far. If you’re anything like me, just one Wordle a day isn’t enough. In case this seems too close to home, you can always dive into our guide for how to play wordle several times a day and hone your skills for tomorrow’s game.
We have also compiled a list of best Wordle alternatives in case the original game turns out to be too easy or too difficult for your liking.