There’s no shortage of people claiming to have the best first guess to start with on Wordle, but this TikToker reckons he’s found the most efficient one — and he’s got the ~science~ to prove it.

By now, you’ve probably seen heaps of people claiming to know the most ideal word to start the viral puzzle game. Unprompted, smug suggestions of ADIEU are rife in the Reddit community, while I personally like to start with BEANS, IDEAS, or MOULD.

Well sorry to break it to you nerdles, but *none* of these are the best word to start the game with, according to a certain TikToker.

In response to a linguist’s claim that IRATE is the best starting guess, a computer scientist and TikToker known as Chris (@Crvlwanek) ran a bunch of code to fact-check the theory.


#stitch with @linguisticdiscovery Different method, similar results! #wordle #linguistics #computerscience #python

♬ original sound – Chris

After finding the game’s entire word list (which I guess you could cheat with but where’s the fun in that), Chris used a script to calculate the frequency of every individual letter in the alphabet and then ordered the words based on how statistically prevalent each letter is.

According to his data, the best first guess for Wordle is not IRATE, but is *drum roll* LATER. So no, having five thousand vowels in your first word is apparently not the best strategy to win the game. Devastating.

The top five words on Chris’ list were LATER, ALTER, AROSE and IRATE. Which means the linguist he was challenging actually had a close guess at #5, which I think is impressive on its own.

There are some flaws with this data though.

As a comment on the video pointed out, the “evaluation neglects the difference in the usefulness of yellow vs green, and how the word pairs up with a second guess”. Chris pointed out that this is true, and something he’ll have to adjust in his algorithm.

I tried using LATER as my starting word this morning and I got the answer in three guesses — better than the four I’ve been averaging over the past week. So hey, it seems it really is the best first guess.