Skip to main content

A person plays the online word game Wordle on a mobile phone on January 11, 2022.STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

If you’ve been on Twitter lately, you’ve likely seen graphics of green and yellow boxes on your timeline. Or maybe your group chat has been inundated with innocuous texts like “What word ends with ‘ar?!?’” or “Today was a close one! 6/6!”

The New York Times acquired Wordle – and sparked a backlash from fans

Like the video game Animal Crossing, baking sourdough bread and completing 1,000-piece puzzles, Wordle is the latest activity to become a viral sensation during the pandemic.

But what is it, exactly? Here’s everything you need to know about Wordle, including where and how to play it.

What is Wordle?

Wordle is a free game where you have six tries to guess a five-letter word through deduction. There is one word every day, which is the same for everyone. The new puzzle is released every day at midnight. Each time you guess a word, the letters will turn green, yellow or grey to indicate if it is in the correct spot. Green means the letter is in the right position, yellow means the letter appears somewhere in the word but not in the current position, and grey means the letter isn’t in the word at all.

Of course, there are plenty of different strategies for the game. Some players start with the same word every day, some start with vowel-packed words like adieu and ouija, and others choose words with a mix of the most common consonants like roast, ratio and stare.

Joanna Webb: Wordle is portion control for word addicts like me

And although some Wordle circles would call it taboo to look up hints online, a lot of people do that too – some of most popular related search terms on Google are people looking for hints, with queries like, “What words end in ‘ire’?”

@21slalom today i started with FUNKY. tomorrow? anyone’s best guess. #fyp #foryoupage #wordle #wordletok #wordgames ♬ vibe for this year - joseph fagundes

Where do you play it?

The game is available for free online at powerlanguage.co.uk/wordle and nytimes.com/games/wordle. Watch out for paid knock-offs on Apple and Google’s app stores. The original Wordle is currently only available via web browser.

Playing Wordle has united word nerds. So, what’s next?

Where do you share your results?

After you correctly guess the word or you run out of tries, you’ll be prompted to share your results. Twitter is a popular place to post your result, but be careful not to include any spoilers. Since everyone has the same word, hints or clues can ruin the puzzle for someone else. If you really want to commiserate about a particularly hard word, join one of the Twitter communities dedicated to Wordle, or keep your commentary to the group chat.

Wordle 212 4/6

⬜🟩⬜⬜🟩

🟩🟩⬜⬜🟩

🟩🟩⬜🟩🟩

🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

Who created it?

The game was created by Brooklyn-based software developer Josh Wardle for his girlfriend, who loves word games, and a couple months later he introduced it to his friends and family, who became obsessed with it, too. Then, in October 2021, Mr. Wardle released it to the world. The game now boasts more than two million players worldwide. In February 2022, The New York Times announced it purchased Wordle for an undisclosed price in the low seven figures and said it would “initially” keep the game free for users.

What other word games are similar to Wordle?

Once you finish your daily Wordle, try one of these other word puzzle games:

  • The Globe and Mail’s daily cryptic crossword
  • The New York Times Spelling Bee, in which you try to make words from a set of seven unique letters while using the centre 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

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.