The Rise and Fall of Wordle


Maddie Arno

Researchers say the most used phrase within the past two weeks was: “Have you done the Wordle today?” Okay, no researchers have actually said that, but it could be true.  It is certainly heard in my classrooms.  If you have been on Twitter recently and seen the gray, yellow, and green boxes, that is Wordle. Wordle is a daily word puzzle created by Josh Wardle in October 2021 who constructed the game for his puzzle-loving partner. 

For the uninitiated, each day a new 5 letter word is generated, and the player has to guess the word in six guesses or less. It seems very difficult at first, but those colored boxes you see all over the internet actually help. If you enter a word and one of the letters is shaded green then that letter is in the right spot; if the letter is shaded yellow then it is in the word, but not in the right space, and if the letter is shaded gray then it is not in the word at all.  It is like a combination between hangman, Wheel of Fortune, and a crossword puzzle.

Wordle became extremely popular in January and is still popular to this day. It became so popular that on January 31st, 2022, the New York Times bought Wordle for an amount in the “low seven figures.

However, after the NYT purchase, players started to notice the change. These 5 letter words went from being easy like “vague” and “pilot” to much harder words like “swill” and “tacit.” The words also started to repeat letters, which makes it much harder to guess.

Many players became frustrated and angry because they lost their streaks. In response,  the NYT came out and said that the word list has not been altered from the original creator’s planned list. According to the editors, The New York Times has not changed the program other than removing some offensive words from the word list. Obviously, at some point, the word list will run out and the New York Times will be required to create new words, but until then they are not to blame.


If you’d like to hop on the trend but cannot seem to solve the puzzles here are some tricks and tips from NyT themselves: