What the heck is Wordle?

Emily Puchalski, Opinions Editor

Lately, many people are finding themselves asking: What is Wordle? How do you play? Where did it come from? Not so long ago, I too was pondering these questions as an ill-informed Wordler. But since then, I have leaped down the Wordle rabbit hole, and am ready to spread the Wordle wealth. 

The logo of the viral word game

In 2020, Josh Wardle, a software engineer from Brooklyn, and his partner Palak Shah grew to enjoy the New York Times Spelling Bee and the daily crossword. Based on their love for word games, Wardle was inspired to create a game for his partner to enjoy. Wardle named the game Wordle, a clever spin on his last name. 

After sharing the fun with family and experiencing success, Wardle decided to release the game to the world in October 2021. What started as a game for the couple to enjoy, grew into one of the most popular pastimes of Americans. In fact, Forbes estimates that now, as many as 14% of American adults play. 


The premise of Wordle is to guess the correct five-letter word using deduction. You are faced with six opportunities to figure out what the target word is. Every 24 hours, players are met with a new random word of the day. Part of the stakes in the game is the scarcity, if you mess up today, you will have to wait until tomorrow to get a new puzzle. The exhilaration of everyone having the same word and the comradery associated with it are other factors to the game’s immense success. Hearing discussions like, “How many steps did it take you?” “Today’s was tough!” or “What is a word that starts with a p and ends with an er?” have grown common to hear.

The screen first seen by players after beginning a game of Wordle – A daily word game

You can start playing at
Wordle – A daily word game.
From there, you can begin by entering any five-letter word. The strategy or lack thereof, behind your first word of choice, is up to you. I chose my initial word unsystematically, typically whatever I am feeling like ports, yodel, or any five-letter word. While many others believe that the first word is the most important and requires methodical planning. Twitter users share that adieu, audio, stare, and roast are some of the best starting words, based on their vast amount of common letters from the English language and the number of vowels.


After that, you have six guesses total. After submitting your first word, the letters will appear either green, yellow, or gray. If you have the right letter in the right spot, it shows up green. Yellow means the letter appears somewhere in the word but not in the current position. A gray letter signifies that the letter is not in the target word at all.

A Glenbard South student’s impressive Wordle score!

Not only has the game taken the world by storm, but also our own Glenbard South community! 


Glenbard South junior, Jack Bair, says he likes Wordle because, “it makes you think hard about a non-school related thing in an interesting way”. His strategy includes starting with words like stern and audio, which include the most common consonants and vowels. His tips to new players are to not use all your guesses at once, take your time and think! 

Glenbard South chemistry teacher, Ms. Raymond also enjoys the game, as she finds it challenging and enjoys discussing the game with students. 


Glenbard South sophomore, Isha Shah, uses strategies to choose a good starting word. She tries to use words with popular consonants like S or R and at least two common vowels like E and A. 


Some tips offered by the Wordle community include: 

  1. Avoid using the gray letters! It might sound obvious, but it might be tempting or hard to avoid when you might find yourself stuck.
  2. Do not be afraid to use the same letter twice! Some recent Wordle solutions like ABBEY or BANAL include repeat letters. 
  3. Take your time! You have practically the entire day, but only six guesses, so use them carefully. 


Since October, the site really blew up in mid-December after the creator tweeted: “Added a share button to Wordle that generates a spoiler-free emoji grid for you. Shoutout to @irihapeta for inventing such a cool way to share your results each day.” 


The sharing feature looks something like this:







Wordle 180 3/6


The feature exploded overnight, leading to the formation of Twitter communities dedicated to Wordle and allowing players to brag about their scores to friends and family. 


Join the Wordle fandom and expand your vocabulary by playing! You can click the link: Wordle – A daily word game and begin playing anytime. Just make sure to guess wisely 😉


If you enjoy playing, also be sure to check out the following word games: 


  • The New York Times Spelling Bee, in which you try to make words from a set of seven unique letters while using the center letter at least once.
  • Kitty Letter, a competitive word game where you must unscramble words fast enough to defend your home from a second player
  • Jotto, a logic word game in which you try to guess a secret word through elimination