GrammarPhile Blog

10 Best Online Word Games

Posted by Sara Richmond   Jun 9, 2022 10:15:00 AM

PRN_Blogpost_06092022The word “best” is a troublemaker. “Best” can mean most popular by number of downloads. Or highest rated by reviews. “Best” can mean a list of personal favorites without any supporting data. “Best” can just mean “I really want this blog post to rank for SEO.”

“Best” can also mean we did our best, and we think this is a dandy list of games that, unless you actually hate word games, will tickle your linguistic bone, satisfy your boredom, and give you bragging rights for days.

Here are the 10 best online word games, in no particular order.

  1. Wordle. It’s become a household name and has something of a cult following. You’ll love its cute origin story. And it just might save your life.
    1. How to Play: You have six tries to guess a five-letter word. After each guess, the letter boxes change color to show how accurate your guess is.
    2. Cost: Free for now; it was recently acquired by the New York Times, so we assume it’s free-to-play days are numbered.
  2. Quordle. Wordle on crack. Scratch that; that makes it sound scary and illegal. Wordle times four.
    1. How to Play: You have nine tries to guess four 5-letter word puzzles at once. Everything is formatted like Wordle; the only differences are the increased number of tries (thank goodness) and the number of puzzles you work on. If you’re intimidated, start with the practice mode until you get your brain into fourth gear.
    2. Cost: Free for now; it was recently acquired by the New York Times, so we assume it's free-to-play days are numbered.
  3. Le Mot. For the French-speakers among us, this “French Wordle” is the genoux d’abeilles.1 The instructions are in French, but I’m assuming they’re identical to the original Wordle. If I’m wrong, I’d like an update, preferably written in French.
    1. How to Play: Learn how to read, write, and speak French. Read the instructions. Guess the words. Have fun. Whee! I mean…ouf.2
    2. Cost: Free.
  4. Spelling Bee. You’re really only playing against yourself, and there are no insects involved.
    1. How to Play: Spell as many four-letter or longer words as possible using seven letters. Each word must include the middle letter, highlighted in yellow. There is at least one pangram. Scores are ranked based on the number of words you find and their length. Reach “Genius” for the ultimate bragging rights. Some of my friendships consist of texts that read “Genius!” or “Did you get the pangram yet?” on an endless loop.
    2. Cost: A few dollars a month with an NYT Games subscription.
  5. The Crossword. I can’t promise you’ll have any brain power left after completing this, but it will be worth the feeling of satisfaction.
    1. How to Play: A standard crossword. Using the hints, enter the answers across or down the connected letter grid. This game is timed in order to scare (motivate?) you. For somewhat less of a challenge and 54% more brain power left over, try The Mini.
    2. Cost: A few dollars a month with an NYT Games subscription.
  6. Letter Boxed. I’m not sure who came up with the name, but since the game is so fun, we’ll excuse the faux pas.
    1. How to Play: Letters are arranged on points around a box. Connect the letters to spell words that are at least three letters long. Use all the letters to solve. There are a few more bits to the rules, but the most important one is that you can’t cuss. Despite that, three thumbs up!
    2. Cost: A few dollars a month with an NYT Games subscription.
  7. Boggle. Spoiler alert: This game has nothing to do with bogs or boggling the mind. I found several versions online, several of which are free (see the link above) and some that aren’t. There are also timed and untimed versions.
    1. How to Play: Swipe the letter tiles to find words. Easy and satisfying.
    2. Cost: Depends (see above).
  8. Words with Friends. This multi-player game has been around for what feels like forever. For many of us, it was our initiation into online word play. The website promises Words With Friends can strengthen your vocabulary, but I’ve only ever played it to boost my sense of superiority. Or to wallow in shame when I lose.
    1. How to Play: Players take turns building words in a crossword-style game board. Words are scored based on length and letter use (longer words with the rare-in-the-wild “X,” for example, score higher).
    2. Cost: Nutritious and delicious. And best of all, it’s free.
  9. Wordscapes. This is a word hunt game with a free-to-play and ad-free (paid) version. According to one compelling review, “it’s honestly one of the only games that doesn’t eventually become boring.” If that suits your fancy, search for the free version online or in the app store on your device.
    1. How to Play: Swipe letters in multiple directions to make words. Blank spaces in the crossword puzzle act as a guide. You can purchase hints with coins, and there are butterflies (eeeehh!) that sometimes fly across the screen and allow you to earn bonus coins.
    2. Cost: Free or a few dollars.
  10.’s Word and Vocabulary Quizzes. You knew this was coming—a shameless plug for our long-adored word quizzes. We won’t even pretend to be sorry.
    1. How to Play: Click the link above and scroll to the “Posts by Topic” menu on the right. Click on anything with “quiz” or “test” in the name. Enjoy!
    2. Cost: Because we love you.

If online games aren’t your cup of pudding,3 try an in-person game like Bananagrams. Or make up your own. One of our stellar editors described a game I’ll call “Endless Puns for Endless Fun.” In a group, one person begins the game by creating a pun. The next person to speak has to riff off that pun. And so on. When I was a kid, we would play a rhyming game at the dinner table. One person would say a word and we’d go around the table listing words that rhymed until we couldn’t think of any more. My favorites were “cat” and “orange” but for completely different reasons.

What about you? Are any of your favorite word games in this list? Submit a comment and tell us; we’d love to hear from you!


1 French for “bees knees.”

2 You guessed it. French for “whee” (according to Google Translate).

3 A post about pudding and grammar.


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