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The World's Best Starting Wordle Words, According To Science

"Wordle" is the newest gaming trend that's been taking over the internet. This explosive success has led to dozens of clones in the app store, but the original is still the game that has managed to hold onto fans' hearts. The game was recently acquired by the New York Times, which had many "Wordle" fans worried. The Times charges a subscription fee for some of its puzzles, after all, and many are concerned that it's only a matter of time before the game is trapped behind a paywall. For now, at least, "Wordle" remains free-to-play.

The game is conceptually pretty straightforward. Each day, there is a new five letter word that players have to guess. They have six tries to get it right. Letters that are a part of the winning word that are guessed in the correct place are highlighted in green and the right letters in the wrong place are highlighted in yellow. While the premise might seem fairly clear-cut, getting the right word isn't nearly as easy as you might think. Players all have their own strategies for finding "Wordle" success.

There are a few good tips and tricks to help players solve the daily puzzle, but every game begins with a starting word. Some people have gone as far so to scientifically break down the best starting words to give players an edge.

Linguist Vs Computer Scientist

There are several opinions out there on what the best word is to start off a round of "Wordle," but all of them seem to revolve around utilizing the most commonly used letters so that they have a higher chance of giving the player the most information possible at the start of the game so that they can begin whittling down the list of possible answers. TikTok user linguisticdiscovery stated that in his professional opinion as a linguist, the first word should be "Irate." He said that E, A, and I are the most common vowels in English while R and T are the most common consonants. The logic for this choice seems sound. It's certainly not the worst starting move, but is it really the absolute best?

User crvlwanek identified himself as a computer scientist and responded to linguisticdiscovery's video, suggesting that there was a better method for finding the optimal starting word. He pulled the list of every possible answer from the program's source code and copied it into a JSON file. He then made a program that would calculate the frequencies of each letter, score each word on the list based on the frequencies of the letters they contain, and then calculate the most optimal starting word. Coming in first place was the word "Later," followed by "Alter," "Alert,"  and"Arose." In fifth place was linguisticdiscovery's choice, "Irate." While these two takes on the best starting word make sense and had fans rethinking their strategies, there were still more answers out there.

Information Theory has another answer

YouTuber Grant Sanderson created the channel "3Blue1Brown" as a side project while studying Math and Computer Science at Stanford, but has expanded it in the years since. He had a slightly different take on how to find the best starting word. "Never one to overlook an opportunity for a math lesson," he said, "it occurs to me that this game makes for a very good central example in a lesson about information theory, and in particular, a topic known as entropy."

After getting sucked into the game, Sanderson explained that he also got into the idea of creating an algorithm that could solve the "Wordle" daily puzzles as efficiently as possible. He then explained that the whole process revolves around the idea of entropy.

The math gets pretty complex, but like the others, he started by examining the letters that most frequently appear in English. He explained that there are 12,972 words that "Wordle" will allow you to enter as a guess even though there are only 2,315 words on the game's list of possible answers. He then entered this information into a complicated equation that seems to algorithmically solve "Wordle" puzzles in as few guesses as possible.

Sanderson's "Wordle Bot" suggests that the best starting word is "Crane." This is interesting, since two of the five letters are different from those posited by both linguisticdiscovery and crvlwanek. Fans will have to make up their own minds about what word they want to start with when playing "Wordle," but these guesses have science behind them.