Words Wordle Won't Let You Play (Even Though They Should)

Words you can and cannot play in Wordle

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There are a lot of five-letter words. Unfortunately, not every five-letter word is part of the Wordle’s playable word list. The complete Wordle word list consists of nearly 13,000 words, but many more are missing. Many non-playable Wordle words fall into common categories, like names of places. As we explore notable words that aren’t playable in Wordle, we’ll also highlight some similar words that are allowed. If anything, this demonstrates that the playable Wordle word list is a bit random. 

Unplayable Character Names From Popular Media

A good number of names you’d recognize from TV shows, movies and video games are playable Wordle words. But, of course, there are even more that we’d love to use but unfortunately can’t.

  • You can play Kirby, but can’t play Mario or Luigi.

  • You can play Sonic, but you can’t play Yoshi or Zelda. 

  • You can play Clint (Barton, aka Hawkeye), but you can’t play Steve (Rogers, aka Captain America).

  • You can play Joker, but you can’t play Bruce (Wayne, aka Batman).

  • You can play (Indiana) Jones, but you can’t play Darth or Vader. 

Names of Countries Missing From Wordle

Most players know that Wordle answers can’t be proper nouns. Why is it, then, that you can play names like Spain, China and India, but you can’t play the names of any of these countries?

  • Benin (Africa)

  • Egypt (Africa)

  • Gabon (Africa)

  • Haiti (North America)

  • Italy (Europe)

  • Kenya (Africa)

  • Libya (Africa)

  • Nepal (Asia)

  • Sudan (Africa)

  • Syria (Asia)

Country Names You Can and Can't Play in WordleCountry Names You Can and Can't Play in Wordle

City Names You Can’t Play in Wordle

The situation for countries is the same as it is for cities. There are plenty of city names that could be great Wordle starting words, but they are off-limits to players. Meanwhile, cities like Aspen, Dover and Paris are completely fair game. How does that work?

  • Boise (Idaho, USA)

  • Cairo (Egypt)

  • Dubai (UAE)

  • Hanoi (Vietnam)

  • Kabul (Afghanistan)

  • Minsk (Belarus)

  • Salem (Oregon, USA)

  • Seoul (South Korea)

  • Tokyo (Japan)

  • Tulsa (Oklahoma, USA)

Boy Names Not in the Wordle Word List

Here are some boy names we wish were playable in Wordle. There are many more names out there, of course, but it would be nice to use these names and their spelling patterns to solve our daily Wordle puzzle. On the bright side, some boy names you can play include Butch, Denis, Roger and James

  • Aiden

  • Brian/Bryan

  • Caleb

  • Deric/Derik/Derek

  • Elias

  • Jason/Jasen

  • Lucas

  • Shane

  • Shaun (Shawn is valid)

  • Tylor (Tyler is valid)

Girl Names That Aren’t in Wordle

As with boy names, this isn’t the full list of missing girl names in Wordle. But, having the ability to play these names would serve as beneficial Wordle hints for sure. Carol, Erica, Moira and Venus are examples of girl names you can play in Wordle

  • Cindy/Cindi

  • Clair

  • Debra

  • Karen

  • Katie

  • Marie

  • Naomi

  • Robyn (Robin is valid)

  • Samie (Sammy is valid)

  • Shona

Withheld Wordle Anagrams That Are Off-Limits

While perhaps not as useful as totally unique words, this next set of five-letter words would still be nice to have. They are words with anagrams that you can play in the game instead; we’ve included those in parentheses. However, remember that putting your letters in a desired order is an important Wordle strategy. Losing that option could lead to an X/6. 

  • Esbat: A gathering of Wiccans for business or a social occasion. (abets, baste, bates, beast, beats, besat, betas, tabes)

  • Esraj: An Indian stringed instrument. (rajes)

  • Ferox: A type of larger-sized trout with brown colorations. (forex)

  • Fream: To make a loud, roaring cry (frame) 

  • Goran: A type of mangrove found in India. (argon, grano, groan, nagor, orang, organ)

  • Nerpa: A city in Nepal and a type of seal. (arpen, paren)

  • Serva: A casual term for a maid or servant. (avers, raves, saver, vares)

  • Shonk: Something or someone of dubious integrity or legality. (honks)

  • Snurt: A snort of laughter that you fail to suppress. (runts, turns)

  • Tchah: An expression of annoyance. (hatch)

  • Tylas: The taxonomic genus in the family Vangidae. (salty, slaty)

  • Washi: A type of handmade paper originating from Japan. (wisha)

  • Vedro: A Russian unit of liquid measurement equivalent to 2.7 imperial gallons. (drove, roved)

The Truly Unique Missing Wordle Words

The last batch of words we wish we could use to solve Wordle are the ones with no anagrams. They’re “real words,” but seeing how they’re not in the Scrabble dictionary and most aren’t playable in Words With Friends, it’s justifiable that they’re unplayable in Wordle too. And unlike the anagrams above, you can’t unscramble these letters to form alternate words either. 

  • Abime: An obsolete term for an abyss. 

  • Barfy: An informal way to describe vomiting. 

  • Beira: Most commonly refers to the Beira seaport in Mozambique, but it is also a general term for a type of African antelope.

  • Druze: Someone who is part of a monotheistic religious community in Syria, Israel and Lebanon.

  • Gnurr: The junk that annoyingly collects over time at the bottom of your pockets.

  • Groak: To stare at someone who is eating in hopes of receiving food. 

  • Humpf: Used to express doubt or contempt.

  • Nexal: Relates to the contract of nexum from Ancient Rome; agree to use their own person as collateral if they fail to pay back a debt. 

  • Quira: Any of several tropical American trees constituting a genus (Platymiscium) of the family Leguminosae.

  • Squir: Throwing something with a sharp jerk. 

  • Ubity: Rare and archaic term referring to a general place or location.

  • Uloid: A biological term, describing something that is scarlike in some way.

  • Unagi: A type of freshwater eel found in Japan.

  • Upher: A long pool (around 20 to 40 feet) made of wood used as scaffolding. 

  • Uvate: A type of preserve made from grapes. 

  • Vacay: An abbreviated form of the word “vacation.”

  • Wlonk: When you’re being stubborn, proud or boastful.

  • Zibeb: A (very) different name for a raisin.

Wordle Words That Do Work

Any of these words that don’t work in Wordle could be useful in several situations. We can only hope that The New York Times will add them to the official Wordle word list in the future. But, while we wait, you can learn some new, useful words that are playable in Wordle. May we suggest our list of Wordle-valid words you probably didn’t know you could play? While not every five-letter word from every category is present in Wordle, there are still tons to choose from as you seek those green squares.

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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