‘Irate’ best Wordle starter word, claims TikTok language expert

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Wordle, a web-based word game that challenges users to guess a mystery five-letter word with six guesses, has become the viral sensation of 2022. In fact, it’s proved so popular that it’s just been bought by the New York Times for an undisclosed seven-figure sum.

The game was created by software engineer, Josh Wardle, who made a prototype back in 2013, before finessing the game last year specifically for his partner to play as part of their morning routine. Since the end of 2021, Wordle has become an online sensation, with online searches for the word increasing by 2180% in the UK alone, according to online tracking tool ahrefs.

Part of the charm of Wordle is how easy it is to play. You have six attempts to guess a five-letter word from the English language. After each guess, if a letter turns yellow then it’s in the word, but not in the right place. If it goes green, it’s not only in the word it’s in the right place too. 

Wondering what those green and yellow blocks posted on Twitter are? They’re Wordle scores, as individuals show off their daily success to the world. 

Of course, once you know how to play, you need to know how to win, and TikTok creators have been quick to find the answers. An account called @linguisticdiscovery kicked things off by analysing the frequency of letters used in the English language. 

Source: tiktok.com/@linguisticdiscovery

Their theory was that words containing the most commonly used letters would give Wordle users the best chance of guessing more correct letters much sooner in the daily puzzle. The linguist suggests that E, A, and I are the most common vowels in the English language, with T and R being the most common consonants. As such, their recommendation for the best word to use to start Wordle is “IRATE”. 

The video has now been viewed 2.5 million times, and has led to many people changing the way they play the game. It has also led to a whole range of word-fans suggesting other ways to ‘win’. One such TikTok user, PhD student @tokbyzeb, has even created a program specifically designed to crack Wordle (handily, he’s almost made a video explaining the maths behind the theory, should you like numbers as much as words).

Working in this theory of choosing the words that give you the fewest words left that the answer could possibly be, the Tiktoker suggests you should always start Wordle with the word “ROATE” which you should then follow up with “LINDS”.

Source: tiktok.com/@tokbyzeb

Says Preply language expert Daniele Saccardi adds:

“It’s interesting to see the many theories appearing about the best word to use as a first guess in Wordle, as people are engaging with language theory, and how words are formed, but it’s all being done in an enjoyable and accessible way.

“And remember, the only tip that really matters when you’re playing Wordle is to enjoy it. That said, I always start with ‘EMAIL’.”



Chris Price
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