Wordle Tips and Strategies: The Best Starter Words to Continue Your Streak

A December Wordle puzzle.

language of power

wordle players have all kinds of strategies. Especially when it comes to choosing a starting word. With only six attempts to guess a five-letter word, you want to maximize the odds: “FAREWELL” is popular because it includes four vowels, although game designer Tyler Glaiel suggests the mathematically optimal first guess is “ROATE”, which is not the case. It wasn’t a word I had heard of (Merriam-Webster informs me that it’s an outdated spelling of “rote”).

I understand the argument that there are only five vowels (and sometimes Y), so you don’t need to understand them immediately. But uh, what can I say, I like knowing the vowels, it helps me narrow down my options. I started with GOODBYE, but these days I also like to start with REGAL, just to get the E and A info, and to see if my favorite consonants are involved. AISLE is also a favorite for me, using three vowels and two favorite consonants.

And check out this CNET TikTok, which recommends starting with GOODBYE, then starting STORY. It’s a great one-two punch that covers a lot of popular letters. The very first time I tried it, I was able to use the letter information I got from those guesses to easily get the word on my third try.

I asked Wordle creator Josh Wardle to share his techniques – haven’t heard back yet, but if he responds I’ll definitely share. In the meantime, I asked CNET staffers to share their favorite Wordle strategies and seed words. Hope this gives you a BOOST or maybe a NUDGE.

Big dynamite AUDIO

“AUDIO. Eliminate 4 out of 5 vowels immediately and focus on consonant reduction. Don’t be afraid to stray from your usual starting word, though – sometimes a random word that comes to mind ends up be far more intuitive than you could ever have imagined.” —Ashley Esqueda

A blank stare

“My go-to is STARE. I’m kind of inspired by the wheel of fortune movement of first guessing RSTLNE, and with that I’m also removing two vowels. At the very least, that often seems to me give something on the early boarding.” —Eli Blumenthal

get tears

I go through TEARY, PIOUS and ADIEU as the first word, to eliminate some common letters and make inroads with vowels. I then choose my next word based on the results, although sometimes I raise my hands and use both TEARY and PIOUS one after the other, no matter what.” —Amanda Kooser

MANUFACTURER mark

“MAKER. This word gets me in the mood to ‘create’ the answer based on the data I get from deleting the letter combo above. Then I move on to animal names like TIGER. This doesn’t isn’t so much tactical as it’s just having fun for about five minutes.” —Mike Sorrentino

Use weird words

“You’re not playing Wordle correctly if you use the same word to start each day. It’s my official rule and I’m flabbergasted that you all use the same word every day. What? Use weird words. Get a dictionary, close your eyes and go to a random page. Start with YACHT one day, try ULCER the next. Look around! TOAST? Why not? Do it! Come on, people. It’s not about cleaning every day in a minimum of movements, it is a question of learn to love yourself.” —jackson ryan

CHEAT, and try the NYT Spelling Bee

“I tried using FIRST, MANIC or CHEAT to start. I don’t know if that says more about my mindset than my word solving skills, but this approach led me to solve in three (I had PANIC the other day out of two!) But I have to say that while I enjoy Wordle, I’m still a bigger fan of NYT’s Spelling Bee, where you’re asked to create words using seven letters, and each word must use the letter in the center of the puzzle I’m playing Spelling Bee with my husband (he gets half the points at Genius; I get the other half). With Wordle, we play vs each other to see who can solve the fastest. So Spelling Bee just seems nicer.” —Connie Guglielmo

good plan wheel

“First of all, I make sure to do it before my morning coffee, for an extra layer of difficulty. I don’t have a password, as it seems a bit cheap, but I usually aim for initial words that are high in either the number of vowels or the good old-fashioned letters of the wheel of fortune: RSTLNE. If it works for Pat Sajak’s crew, that’s good enough for me.” —Andrew Crok

A goodbye argument

“I’ve been using GOODBYE since day one. Hilarious, I still sometimes spell it wrong. Sometimes to shake things up – mostly due to pressure from Jackson Ryan – I try something different. But whenever i’m walking away from GOODBYE this manifests in a gigantic uphill struggle i’m barely recovering from anyway i don’t know what we’re all arguing about someone had an experience of this topic. The best word is ROATE. —Marc Serrels

story time

“I steal Mark’s word, GOODBYE, and follow it up with STORY. Then it’s just a matter of putting all the letters I’ve discovered in the places I think they are, and me banging your head on the table, saying, “I’m not that stupid, am I? until I figure it out.” —Oscar Gonzalez

The first word you think of

“I’m a high-risk, high-reward Wordle player. I really choose the first word that comes to mind, without any strategy. Besides being the purest form of Wordling (as experts say , obviously), when I’m lucky enough to guess three or four letters out of five correctly, it’s extremely satisfying.” —Monisha Ravisetti

It’s not easy to be green

“TREAD is a winner, but I like to mix up my first word. That said, I always have some first guess rules. At least two vowels. Never use an S. (That S guess will come in handy on the trail when you realize that you’re incredibly stupid and can only think of four-letter guesses.Final rule: your second guess should never include your guessing greens one (unless you’re on hard mode). those green ones for later and throw five new letter guesses into the mix. If I see you posting a Wordle reply on Twitter that has large green columns of letters staying in one place, I will judge you.” —Claire Reilly

Guess it in two

“My ultimate goal in Wordle is to guess the word on my second try. To that end, I use STEAR as my first word, which provides a solid set of letters in unusual positions, often allowing me to predict where they will go if they turn yellow. From there, I make aggressive guesses, even if strategically inadvisable (duplicate letters, few vowels, low probability letters, etc.) Since beginning this strategy, my average is about the same as ever, but now I occasionally win in two guesses. So, success?”-David Priest

don’t fail

“I don’t believe in strategies. Choose the word that speaks to you the most in the morning and follow your heart. Starting with a tactically effective word makes it too easy anyway. What if you fail? It’s just Wordle! ( But I would like to make it clear that I never fail, not even when there is an X in the word.)” —Sarah McDermott

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