Wordle Conquers Everyone

Wordle Conquers Everyone


Anyone who knows Wordle raise your hand! And you are a lot with your hands up because lately it is the game on the knowledge of the words of the English language that is very popular, on Twitter and beyond.

Instead, let’s immediately explain to those who have never heard of it that it is a very simple online pastime, which can be found at this link. It involves guessing an existing five-letter English word by trying to write one. If a letter is present and in the right place of the combination, it will turn green. If it is present, but in the wrong place, it is yellow. If, on the other hand, that letter does not exist, it is dark gray.

A sort of “Mastermind” (the Hasbro game that has accompanied, and still accompanies, generations of fans), but with the letters instead of the colored pegs. Here we need to have further attention: we do not play with British English. A few days ago, for example, many complained (jokingly) that the word to guess was FAVOR (favor) and not FAVOR. And since the hidden term must exist, not all letter combinations are allowed; it drops from almost 12 million to a few thousand, which in any case are not few.

Every day there is a different proposal and every day there are only six attempts. Few or many? Generally they are sufficient if you know English well or if (like the writer) you rely on the intuition and plausible sound of British or American terms. However, it must be said that to impress friends and friends it is also important to guess the word in the least number of tests and therefore a quantitative approach could help.

To analyze the phenomenon from a numerical point of view, we started with a lexicon of 4,710 five-letter words. There will probably be some that we have not found, but there seemed to be a sufficient number for analysis. In practice, assuming this set of headwords is correct, you have a 0.02% chance of guessing on the first try. Not many, then.

Well, our words have given life to a list of 23,550 letters: among these, more than 10% are E’s, which is the most used in terms that contain five.