This is one of the worst Wordle start words, according to The New York Times

Wordle is open on a phone held in a hand. TRAIN and GRIND have been played, with the RIN in GRIND all green.
(Image credit: Mike Kemp / Getty Images)

Are you still a Wordle fanatic? Then you may have your favorite start words that you use every day. But, some start words are far better than others. The New York Times analyzed more than 515 million Wordle answers over the past year and a half, and discovered a number of trends, including the most popular Wordle start words, and which of those were the most — and least — efficient when it came to solving Wordle. 

According to the The New York Times' analysis of 515 million Wordle games completed between Dec. 1, 2022, and Nov. 30, 2023., the most popular Wordle start word is ADIEU, with six percent of all players using it as their opening gambit. The next is STARE at 4.9%, SLATE at 3.9%, AUDIO at 3.6%, and RAISE at 3.1%.

However, it turns out that using ADIEU as an opening word is a mistake. 

"On average, players who started with ADIEU needed about a third of a turn more to solve their Wordles compared with players who started with SLATE, adding up to 132 extra turns over the course of a year," reads the Times' story. 

"Even worse: While 1.7 percent of SLATE starters failed to solve a Wordle on average, the chance of failure with ADIEU more than doubled, to 3.6 percent."

Maybe more people should check out our list of the best Wordle start words

There are a lot of Wordle cheaters

Another interesting finding by The New York Times is that more players guess the correct answer on the first try — 1 in every 250 chances — which is far more than if they were to randomly guess the answer. Perhaps they've read our own today's Wordle answer story? 

As the story notes, starting each Wordle game with the same starting word can get boring, no matter how efficient. Around almost every holiday, other words spike in popularity: 

  • Christmas Eve (Dec. 24, 2022): MERRY
  • Christmas Day: MERRYGIFTSPEACE
  • New Year’s Eve: PARTYYEARS
  • New Year’s Day (Jan. 1, 2023): YEARSPARTYHAPPYFRESH
  • The Super Bowl (Feb. 12): SUPER
  • Valentine’s Day: HEARTLOVERCUPID
  • St. Patrick’s Day: LUCKY
  • Easter: RISENBUNNY
  • Coronation of Charles III and Camilla (May 6): CROWNROYAL
  • Labor Day: LABOR
  • Halloween: GHOST
  • Thanksgiving: THANKGRAVYFEAST

Other findings

The New York Times' story has some more interesting info on other popular starting words, the toughest words to solve, as well as the most surprising words for the Wordlebot. It's worth checking out, especially if you play Wordle every day.

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Mike Prospero
U.S. Editor-in-Chief, Tom's Guide

Michael A. Prospero is the U.S. Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide. He oversees all evergreen content and oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories for the site. In his spare time, he also tests out the latest drones, electric scooters, and smart home gadgets, such as video doorbells. Before his tenure at Tom's Guide, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, the Times of Trenton, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where he worked on the campus newspaper The Heights, and then attended the Columbia University school of Journalism. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight — or chagrin — of his family.