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How to cheat at Words With Friends

Words With Friends

Word With Friends, on the off chance you’re unfamiliar, is an extremely popular and addicting scrabble-eque mobile app for both iOS and Android. The game itself has been a top app on the App Store chart for years now as it provides a great way to pass the time, have some fun, and showcase one’s vocab prowess.

Now if you want to have a little bit of fun and perhaps shock a friend who always happens to get the best at you at Words With Friends, here’s a fun way to use the Terminal app in OS X to help you do just that.

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As a quick example, let’s say that the 7 letters you on your virtual rack are ‘ithecyd’. If you want to see a list of all the possible words that can be formed from those 7 letters, simply type the following command into the Terminal command line.

grep -x “[ithecyd]*” /usr/share/dict/words

Doing so will tap into OS X’s built-in dictionary and return a full list of words that can be formed with the letters contained within the brackets. I should mention that the returned list will include re-used letters so make sure to scan the list and avoid those entries.

While the full list of possible words can be helpful, it can also be a bit overwhelming. Especially given that, more often than not, players don’t find themselves in a position to use all of their seven letters in a single play. Rather, most turns require players to build off of an existing word. Thankfully, Terminal still has you covered.

Let’s say that you want to use your available letters to complete a word that begins with the letters “CH”. To do so, simply type the following command into Terminal.

grep -x “^ch[ithecyd]*” /usr/share/dict/words

Of course, if you want a word that starts with ‘D’ or ‘PL’, simply replace the ‘ch’ string above with whatever you’d like.

On the flip side, you can also obtain a list of words that end with a particular sequence. Say you’d like to find a list of words that end in ‘er’ from your collection of ‘ithecyd’ letters. To do so, simply type the following command into the Terminal app.

grep -x “[ithecyd]*er” /usr/share/dict/words

Even better, it’s also possible to do a combo search, meaning that you can quickly find words that, say, begin with the letter ‘t’ and end with the letter ‘d’. That command would read as follows.

grep -x “^t[ithecyd]*d” /usr/share/dict/words

And so there you have it. Again, remember that the returned list of words will include re-used letters so you might want to scan the options closely before making a movie.

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.