The Definitive Best Wordle Starting Words (and Why)

Wordle starting words on podium

Created by WordFinder

The free-to-play Wordle word game quickly became a sensation in early 2022. People all over the world visit the site every day to solve its puzzles. The challenge is fun, but finding the best Wordle words to play first can be a bit perplexing. When trying words at random fails, it’s time to implement some strategy. Pick the best Wordle starting words to improve your odds of finding the answer. And, if you need help choosing your second Wordle word or starting word pair, we have essential information for that too.

The Absolute Best Word to Start Wordle

Statistically, the best Wordle starting word is CANOE.

But, if you want to try other 5 letter words that have similar statistical effectiveness, your choices are ROATE, CRANE, RAISE, and TRACE. Doesn’t hurt to give them all a shot at least once, right?

Best Wordle starting words statisticallyBest Wordle starting words statistically

In alphabetical order, the best first words to play in Wordle are:

  • Canoe

  • Carte

  • Crane

  • Crate

  • Raise

  • Roate

  • Slate

  • Slant

  • Stale

  • Trace

These words have consistently proven to be your best options. This is according to several sources, like The New York Times’ WordleBot and the fan-made Startle tool, both of which we’ll discuss more below. 

Both WordleBot and Startle have Wordle analysis tools that help you measure the value of a Wordle word. And, after they’ve helped you find the first word or word pair you want to play, you can use our Wordle solver to pick the next words to play to deduce the correct Wordle answer of the day.

Best Wordle Starting Words According to NYT’s WordleBot

To show players how to improve their skills and keep their Wordle streaks going, the NYTimes introduced WordleBot as an automated assistance feature. After you complete a daily Wordle puzzle, this bot can analyze your performance and determine how well you did. 

Most importantly though, WordleBot will review the words you played, one by one, turn by turn, and suggest better alternatives based on its algorithms. This begins by choosing the best word to start Wordle with.

The NYT WordleBot goes beyond common favorite words to give you more words that rank highly according to its own scoring system. For your first turn in normal mode, WordleBot considers any of these 10 words to be the right option for your best Wordle starting word. It rates each word on a scale from 1 to 100, where 100 is the absolute best word possible. 

Wordle top starting wordsWordle top starting words
  1. Crane (99)

  2. Slate (99)

  3. Crate (99)

  4. Slant (99)

  5. Trace (99)

  6. Lance (98)

  7. Carte (98)

  8. Least (98)

  9. Trice (98)

  10. Roast (97)

NYT’s WordleBot can suggest the first word to try in Wordle’s hard mode. As with normal mode, it assigns a numerical rating to each Wordle starting word from 1 to 100.

  1. Dealt (99)

  2. Tripe (95)

  3. Tails (94)

  4. Shalt (94)

  5. Slant (93)

  6. Petal (93)

  7. Slate (93)

  8. Tales (93)

  9. Trace (93)

  10. Plane (93)

The Best Wordle Strategy According to Startle

If you don’t have a New York Times subscription to gain access to WordleBot, or if you’d prefer to use a different analysis tool, Startle is a reliable option. This Wordle word tester simulates over a billion games of Wordle daily to find the best words to use alongside your winning Wordle strategies

Created by software engineer Steve Hodges, Startle gives percent scores for the likelihood that a Wordle first word will find at least one green letter or at least one yellow letter. For example, playing “arose” will give you at least one green letter 39 percent of the time. 

Playing a five-letter word with a lot of vowels is a great Wordle strategy. The vowels might not be in the correct spots, but you can figure out which vowels are in the Wordle answer. A Wordle starting word with three or more vowels can reveal valuable information. 

Recommended Wordle starting wordsRecommended Wordle starting words
  • Arose: 39% Green | 80% Yellow

  • Atone: 37% Green | 81% Yellow

  • Canoe: 43% Green | 79% Yellow

  • Irate: 40% Green | 80% Yellow

  • Orate: 40% Green | 80% Yellow

  • Ourie: 36% Green | 82% Yellow

  • Raise: 44% Green | 81% Yellow

  • Roate: 44% Green | 80% Yellow

  • Serai: 35% Green | 84% Yellow

  • Soare: 50% Green | 76% Yellow

Wordle Starting Words With Common Consonants

The other option for the best Wordle starting word is to mix vowels with common consonants. These include letters like S, R, T and N. Words with C are surprisingly common too. The trick with these Wordle starting words is that the common letters are also in common positions. 

  • Heart: 36% Green | 80% Yellow

  • Dealt: 38% Green | 78% Yellow

  • Canoe: 43% Green | 79% Yellow

  • Carte: 42% Green | 76% Yellow

  • Cones: 35% Green | 76% Yellow

  • Haste: 36% Green | 76% Yellow

  • Horse: 39% Green | 76% Yellow

  • Lance: 39% Green | 75% Yellow

  • Least: 37% Green | 81% Yellow

  • Roast: 40% Green | 76% Yellow

  • Stale: 42% Green | 76% Yellow

  • Stare: 41% Green | 76% Yellow

  • Store: 40% Green | 75% Yellow

  • Trail: 36% Green | 79% Yellow

To help you find all of the best Wordle starting words you might want to use, we tested hundreds of words to find the average best scores. Based on our analysis, top Wordle words get at least one green letter 35% of the time and one at least one yellow letter 74% of the time. All the starting words suggested above exceed these averages. If you need an extra nudge, a daily Wordle hint or two wouldn't hurt.

The Best Second Word for Wordle

It’s clear what the best words to start Wordle are, but unless you manage to find the puzzle’s answer on the first try, you’ll need to play some more worthwhile words. And that brings up a very important question: What is the best Wordle second word?

Winning requires a lot of Wordle strategies, and all of your tactics need to work well together. Primarily, this means the words you play should complement each other. They need to get you closer to solving the daily puzzle.

Wordle first word screenshotsWordle first word screenshots

Picking the Best Second Wordle Word

With everything we know about matching words effectively, combined with Startle analysis, we can follow a reliable pattern for choosing the best Wordle words every time. Here are some quick examples of how to pick a worthwhile second Wordle word.

  • Play “ourie” as your first Wordle word and then play “badly” on your second turn. In two turns, you will have played all of the vowels plus B, D, L, R and Y. 

  • Play “roate” to start off strong. Then, play a word that doesn’t contain any of the same letters, like “funds.” 

  • Play “stare” or “store” to test for the common positions of every letter in both words. After that, play something like “blimp” or “finch” to use five new letters.

Choosing a great second Wordle word is even more valuable for Wordle spinoffs like Quordle and Octordle where you have to guess more than one word. Use the information you gain to help you solve multiple words in fewer guesses, maybe with some extra help from our Quordle solver too.

Find Your Second Wordle Word With WordFinder

If you’re playing normal mode and need some help figuring out which second Wordle word to play, our Wordle solver can provide plenty of options. 

  1. After you play your first word, enter all of its letters in the solver’s “excludes” search field. The solver will generate a word list with words without those letters. 

  2. If there’s a specific letter you want the generated words to have, such as an unused vowel, add it to the “includes” search field.

  3. Tap the search button. 

  4. Review the resulting word list to find a great second Wordle word.

Avoid Repeat Letters in Your Wordle Words

If you’ve noticed, one thing that the best words for Wordle have in common is that none of them contain duplicate letters. Examples of words with duplicate letters include “funny,” “hello” and “sorry.” 

One of the first questions any new player will ask is, “Does Wordle repeat letters in its answers?” The answer, as they will quickly learn, is “yes.” But, for your first few turns, including your second word in Wordle, you want to avoid trying those words. The best strategy is to play words that reveal as many different letters as possible. This helps to eliminate other possibilities. 

Insight from Startle Creator Steve Hodges

As we studied the best Wordle starting words and used Startle to determine the best second word for Wordle, we reached out to Steve Hodges for his expert insight into how people should approach solving a Wordle puzzle and why starting pairs of words were more valuable than a single starting word.

Playing one solid starting word statistically doesn't result in as many greens or yellows. It leaves a player asking "Now what? Which word do I play next?". Playing two complimentary starting words allows you to play 10 unique letters, which results in a much better chance of finding greens and yellows right away.

Usually, it works: the best word combos result in 3 or more yellows over half the time, and at least one green 62% of the time. Compare that with a singular popular starting word (caret), which results in 3 or more yellows just 10% of the games, and a green just 46% of the time! You can see two strong starting words puts you much closer to the solution. 

Best First and Second Words for Wordle

Now that you know the value of playing the best second Wordle word, you have to consider which word pairs to play together. Having the best starting word is critical, but you can almost guarantee victory if you use a consistent pair of words whenever you play Wordle. 

Steve Hodges wanted to know what the best word combos were as well. That’s why he designed Startle to rate two words together too. This option to use two words allowed Steve to find what he believed to be, mathematically speaking, the best Wordle starting words.

Best Starting Wordle Word Pairs

Steve’s findings on Startle show that, as of May 2022, “coals” and “niter” are the statistically best starting Wordle word pair. Of course, this isn’t the only worthwhile Wordle word pair you can play. Here is a list of Wordle word pairs that Startle considers to be the best of the best. 

Just like the best Wordle first words, each pair of words also has scores for how likely you’ll get a green or yellow square in the game. On average, each pair has a 64% chance of finding at least one green square and a 97% chance of finding at least one yellow square. All of these starting pairs contain A, E, I, and O. The letter U seems to be a less common vowel among potential Wordle answers.

  • Coals & Niter

  • Caner & Toils

  • Canoe & Tirls

  • Carns & Toile

  • Coals & Nitre

  • Citer & Loans

  • Citer & Solan

  • Conte & Rials

  • Hones & Trail

  • Coirs & Laten

  • Cairn & Toles

  • Hosen & Trail

  • Hosel & Train

  • Colas & Nitre

  • Ceils & Torah

Best Wordle Starting Words for Consonants

Startle also offers some data for words that specifically find consonants in the puzzle’s answer. If your Wordle strategy is to match consonants first, try these pairs. On average, each pair has a 34% chance of finding at least one green square and a 90% chance of finding at least one yellow square.

  • Darns & Letch

  • Letch & Nerds

  • Letch & Nards

  • Delts & Ranch

  • Letch & Yarns

  • Letch & Syren

  • Cents & Ralph

  • Cents & Redly

  • Hents & Lycra

  • Lycra & Thens

  • Celts & Nerdy

  • Gnarl & Techs

  • Gnars & Letch

  • Cents & Reply

  • Nerdy & Talcs

LoveToKnow Media Staff’s Favorite Wordle Starting Words

As important as finding the best Wordle starting word and the best second Wordle word are, we can’t ignore the human aspect of the game. Games are meant to be entertaining, first and foremost. For many Wordle fans, the fun part is picking their personal favorite words to play.

We asked some fellow Wordle fans who work with us at LoveToKnow Media about their favorite starting words for Wordle. Here’s what they had to say.

“My kids insist on ‘audio’ each time. Then, they have a strategy for the next one depending on what letter hits. My youngest came up with ‘reply’ if no letters in ‘audio’ are present.” – Jennifer Gunner

“‘Aisle’ and then ‘Round’ are my usual first two. It covers all the vowels and some of the most common consonants.” – Ash Menon

“I always start with ‘weary.’ Fun fact: I had no idea that was the example word they use when you click on the help icon until my friend pointed it out to me. The word simply spoke to me! And it hasn’t failed me yet.” – Claudia Boone

“I use ‘raise’ because [there are] lots of vowels and two common letters.” – Carrie Grosvenor

“The words I try are things like ‘tepid,’ ‘stare,’ ‘least,’ ‘audit,’ ‘learn,’ ‘ounce,’ and ‘untie.’ But, sometimes I switch it up and do only one vowel like ‘strap’ or’ right.’” – Josh Coady

Get the Word on Wordle

Picking your favorite and best Wordle starting word, and using a combination of them, will help you win the daily Wordle game time and time again. Also, keep in mind that the game’s list of words was deliberately designed to use common words. Most of the hardest Wordle words are hard because of multiple possibilities and not necessarily because they’re obscure. So, more often than not, you don’t have to worry about some truly bizarre Wordle answers popping up to ruin your streak. 

If you want to learn more about Wordle or need more Wordle help, we have more for you to read. Our overview of Wordle has the info on how the game works, how to play it and the history behind its creation.

Zac Pricener has been a content creator for the past eight years. He’s a bit of an all-around nerd, and he has a bad habit of working movie and TV show references into conversations whenever possible.


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