Wordle is running out of words

I was scrolling on TikTok the other night when I discovered a new thing to worry about. Is Wordle about to run out words? Well, it’s complicated. And also: no. But it’s also interesting!

During a question and answer session on the New York Times’ game’s team’s Tiktok, Wordle editor Tracy Bennett was asked by user @Thornside3 whether the game was about to run out of five-letter words. “Yes, there are only 2300+ words left in the database,” said Bennett. Some words are still being added, though. “I’ve added about 30 words and there are other words that haven’t been added that could be added,” she continued.


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And beyond that? Bennett had some ideas. “One possibility is that we could recycle old words at some point, like when we get close to the end,” she said. “We could throw everything back in the pot and mix it up. Another thing we could do is maybe allow plurals. Wouldn’t that be interesting. Or Past tenses. So there are some options.”

In 2022, when Wordle was acquired by the New York Times, it had a word list of 2,315 words in its database. Josh Wardle, the game’s creator, filtered his word list down by asking his partner, Palak Shah, to group the original list into words she knew or maybe knew, and words she didn’t know. (I gather there are around 13,000 five-letter words in the English language.) The New York Times has also removed a handful of words since its acquisition, including offensive terms and some British spellings that had squeaked through.

Bennett sounded confident regarding Wordle’s future, incidentally, and her answer went down pretty well. Scanning the comments, most people were more annoyed that “SALLY” had recently been used.

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