-(((o)r)d)le of the month

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In the wake of Wordle have come many other-dles and similar games — a sample in alphabetical order:

Absurdle, AntiwordleByrdle, CFBordle, Crosswordle, Dangle, Dordle, Framed, Gordle, Heardle, Hello Wordl, IYKYK, Leaderboardle, Lewdle, LookdleLordle of the RingsNerdle, Octordle, Peotl, Primel, Quordle, Searchdle, Sedecordle, Squirdle, Star Wordle,  Taylordle, Waffle, WARdle, Weddle, Wheredle, Word Hurdle, Worldle,  …

Now from Dallin Tucker and Benjamin Tucker comes Gramle, a Wordle-like game where the goal is an IPA transcription of a displayed spectrogram and waveform. According to the About page, "Gramle was created as a collaboration between DT and BVT. It was DT’s high school computer science final project".

It's wonderful that a bright high-school student can now create an impressive interactive web app like this. Further development might well turn this into a useful way to learn about analyzing spectrograms and waveforms — though I suspect that increasing its educational effectiveness might take it in a somewhat less Wordle-ish direction…

The whole X-le thing has become pretty productive. Add -(d)le to a common category word, and there a good chance that the game exists. My first five guesses were all hits:

Birdle, Plantle, Cardle, Colordle, Cloudle, …

"Dogdle" took me to Dogsdle, and "Catdle" doesn't seem to exist. But overall,  the libfix -(d)le seems to be more productive than the ADS's Word of the Year choice -ussy.





  1. Chester Draws said,

    January 15, 2023 @ 2:24 pm

    I am somewhat surprised that you left out Wɛ:dəl, which is Wordle, but in IPA.


    I find it is improving my understanding of the vowel sounds in IPA a lot. It's much harder than the trivial Wordle too, as you don't know the length of the actual word.

    I think it is standard English pronunciations, so those of you with different accents may find it awkward. (I'm a Kiwi, and quite strongly accented, but I only occasionally struggle.)

  2. Keith Ivey said,

    January 15, 2023 @ 2:54 pm

    One of the games called Heardle is also an IPA-based Wordle:


  3. Peter Metcalfe said,

    January 15, 2023 @ 3:53 pm

    Sooner or later the -dle game scene is going to clash with the Magpies "Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle"


  4. Kenny Easwaran said,

    January 15, 2023 @ 5:55 pm

    Quordle is in fact a great game: https://www.quordle.com/#/

    It's four simultaneous games of Wordle. I still haven't managed to solve all four simultaneously in 6, but can usually do it in 7.

  5. languagehat said,

    January 16, 2023 @ 8:17 am

    I just want to put it on record that there was an earlier Wordle, which you can see in an archived version here. Its creator, Jonathan Feinberg, wrote about it here:

    I created the Wordle word-cloud layout algorithms while working on a social bookmarking application at IBM Research, in 2005. I created the “Wordle„ web application in 2008. Since that time, hundreds of thousands of people have saved over 7,000,000 word clouds to Wordle‚s public gallery, before the gallery was turned off.

    I know because I posted about I wrote about it (as applied to Greek) back in 2010.

  6. Taylor, Philip said,

    January 16, 2023 @ 9:31 am

    Once I by[ass the broken link and go direct to https://www.wordle.net/. I reach a page seemingly written in Thai, with no obvious way to change the language of display (I do not read Thai, so for all I know it may well sy [in Thai] "click here to change display language). Do you have any idea why, LH ?

  7. Keith Ivey said,

    January 16, 2023 @ 10:14 am

    Philip, I assume LH used an archive link because the original site no longer exists. Sites are often taken over by spammers when their domain registrations expire. The Internet Archive happens to be having technical difficulties this morning, so that's presumably why the archive link wasn't working.

  8. Taylor, Philip said,

    January 16, 2023 @ 11:30 am

    Thank you, Keith. Crass stupidity on my part, which I attribute to the fact that while my body appears to finally be recovering from a nasty bout of 'flu (or similar), my brain does not yet appear to be doing the same …

  9. Jarek Weckwerth said,

    January 17, 2023 @ 8:49 am

    Let me be the unbearable nerd. These aren't at all "IPA transcriptions". They are IPA-based phonemic transcriptions of American English. I had a hard time guessing the first one because the FACE vowel was essentially monophthongal. The button says eɪ, with a tie bar above no less, while the sound is eˑ. Rant off.

  10. Todd said,

    January 18, 2023 @ 4:15 am

    -(d)le did win Digital Word of the Year in this most recent ADS vote!

  11. Taylor, Philip said,

    January 18, 2023 @ 9:25 am

    "-(d)le did win Digital Word of the Year". Sigh. Is the word 'word' becoming devoid of all meaning ? If the preceding is to be believed, a mere suffix is now a 'word'. Furthermore, Oxford's "word of the year" for 2022 was "goblin mode" (a previous [2019] Oxford so-called "word of the year" was "climate emergency)". So phrases can be words, suffices can be words — one is forced to ask, 'Is there anything that cannot be a word, by today's laissez-faire standards ?". Not unlike, I am forced to admit, Cornwall's bid for "UK City of Culture 2025". Cornwall ? A city ?! The mind boggles …

  12. VVOV said,

    January 18, 2023 @ 10:37 am

    As an American English native speaker, that RP IPA Wordle linked in the first comment is mind bendingly hard!

  13. Jarek Weckwerth said,

    January 18, 2023 @ 10:39 am

    @ Philip Taylor: Goblin mode and climate emergency are compound nouns, as their German translations Goblin-Modus and Klimanotstand demonstrate. And as far as -dle is concerned, well, that's what semantic shifting (aka language evolution) looks like.

  14. Taylor, Philip said,

    January 18, 2023 @ 1:28 pm

    Er, language involution surely, Jarek — most certainly not evolution !

  15. Jarek Weckwerth said,

    January 18, 2023 @ 5:24 pm

    Well, as an occasional peever, I could say "Haha you're so right". But on this one, I'll be boringly nerdy and will say, "No-one ever said evolution always improves things". Movement along a time line towards the future, with changes, whether you call it progress or evolution, is just that. Absolutely does not logically need to be towards better things.

    I'm from Eastern Europe, you see.

  16. Kate Sharma said,

    January 18, 2023 @ 10:48 pm

    Further development might well turn this into a useful way to learn about analyzing spectrograms and waveforms — though I suspect that increasing its educational effectiveness might take it in a somewhat less Wordle-ish direction… http://www.flex.storage/

  17. Todd said,

    January 19, 2023 @ 5:43 am


    The ADS is very clear about their guidelines for WOTY nominees:

    > For the sake of the vote, “word” is broadly defined to include multiword phrases, compounds, and idiomatic expressions that behave like single lexical items.
    > Ideal Word of the Year nominations are words which demonstrate widespread usage by a large number of people, in a variety of contexts and situations, and/or which reflect important events, people, places, ideas, or preoccupations of English-speakers in North America in 2022.
    > Nominated words do not have to be absolutely brand new but they should have risen to prominence or reached some kind of peak of popularity in 2022.

  18. Jarek Weckwerth said,

    January 19, 2023 @ 9:23 am

    Thanks Tod, but I think you wanted to address this to Philip. It's 100% clear to me that a compound is a word.

  19. Taylor, Philip said,

    January 19, 2023 @ 10:24 am

    But what you call a compound [word], Jarek, I call a [noun] phrase (noun, of course, only when the phrase itself represents a noun).

    And to use a German translation as evidence for what is, or what is not, a word in English does not seem a sound methodology to me — would you call "Air Force base" a compound word in English just because the German is Luftwaffenstützpunkt ?

  20. Jarek Weckwerth said,

    January 19, 2023 @ 11:49 am

    @ Philip — I was trying to write a moderately humourous short offhand comment on a blog post, not something for Glossa, so you will have to forgive my laxness of methodology :D

    Regarding what is a compound, well, I'm a phonetician, so I would say (tongue firmly in cheek), check the stress pattern and you'll see. But of course there will be all kinds of diagnostics. You will need to consult your local syntactician…

    (One such diagnostic I would apply would be to try to modify the modifier. Thus, a very sudden emergency is cromulent, demonstrating this is a phrase, but *a very climate emergency flops.)

  21. Taylor, Philip said,

    January 19, 2023 @ 12:44 pm

    Well, actually, I'd prefer to check the OED (1933 edition — hardback, 13 vols inc. supplement). If it says something is a word, then I believe it; if any of today's dictionaries say something is a word, I would treat the assertion with the greatest suspicion unless OED 1933 agrees. The involution of lexicography …

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