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When will Wordle end? Here’s how long you can play the viral game

Published Jan 10th, 2022 11:07AM EST
The rules of the Wordle game
Image: Wordle

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Wordle is the most popular word game out there right now. It went viral in the final months of 2021, with hundreds of thousands of daily users flocking to it. You don’t need to get a PS5 or an expensive graphics card for this particular game. It’s not even a mobile app, so you don’t need a new smartphone for it. Wordle runs on any device that has a web browser, which means you can enjoy it on any smartphone, tablet, computer, or smart TV. The Wordle premise is very simple, and so are the rules (seen above). You get six tries to guess a 5-letter word and you eliminate letters with each incorrect guess. Once you figure out the word of the day, you have to wait 24 hours for a new word. So if you ever wondered when Wordle will end, we already have an answer for you.

Games are fun because you can escape your reality for however long you want while getting immersed in that particular challenge. And most games can be played endlessly, especially those that go viral on mobile devices.

But the brilliance of Wordle is that you can only play it once a day. You can’t get the next word when you’re finished with today’s Wordle. You can’t see what’s next or advance through levels. And you can’t pay to play more. You just have to wait for tomorrow’s puzzle.

When will Wordle end?

That means you have plenty of time to brag about your score to friends and family, which is another Wordle feature that makes it so exciting. The Wordle battle ends each day with one or more winners in your circle of friends. As soon as the day is over, you get your chance for a rematch. It’ll be a different five-letter word each day, which means you get plenty of opportunities to beat your friends and loved ones at Wordle.

How long will this last, exactly? Well, we might have an answer.

If you are curious to learn how many 5-letter words are in the English language, you’ll find answers online easily. Like this Quora answer from 2018 that gives us a figure between 7,723 and 12,166, depending on the dictionary. Tom Crosley, the Quora user who studied the matter, looked at several dictionaries. He concluded there are 15,108 unique 5-letter words in the English language.

What would that mean for the Wordle experience and the game’s end? Dividing the figure above by 365 days, we end up with 41.39 years. Yeah, we would need to subtract a day for each leap year in this four-decade period. Suffice it to say that Wordle will not end anytime soon if we consider this estimate.

But what if plurals are allowed? There’s one estimate that gives us 3,996 4-letter words. Plurals would turn most of them into 5-letter words permitted for Wordle gameplay. This gives us an extra 10.95 years of Wordle action.

Add the two figures together, and Wordle’s end would not come in anytime soon. We’re looking at well over 52 years of action. And of course, all this assumes that Wordle doesn’t reuse words. If that’s the case, then Wordle can be endless.

The Wordle alternatives

However, there is a caveat. According to The New York Times, Josh Wardle and his partner Palak Shah actually went through an initial list of about 12,000 words for Wordle. Shah narrowed down the list to about 2,500, excluding the obscure ones that would be impossible to guess.

When will Wordle end in that case? We get a new answer of just 6.85 years from now.

It’s not as good (or grim?) as 52 years. But it’s enough time to master 5-letter words to win and lose at Wordle against friends as often as you’d like.

If the once-a-day Wordle action isn’t enough for you, or you simply want to hone your guessing skills, several Wordle knock-offs are already available. You can play them multiple times a day, with the same rules as the real Wordle game. Word Master is probably the most popular alternative right now. It’s Wordle, but endless.

But if you go the Word Master route, the game will end a lot faster. You could easily be running dozens of words every day and go through the entire list a lot faster than 7 years. Again though, that assumes the words are never repeaed.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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