Unique Word Selected as Word of the Year

Popular word game clinches the word homer for 2022.


Baseball player just hit a home run.

(Andrey Yurlov  / Shutterstock.com)

If you’re a Wordle fan, chances are you’ll recognize the Cambridge Dictionary’s word of the year: homer. If you’re not familiar with the word game, you may need an explanation 

Homer is an informal American English word for a home run in the game of baseball. When it was the hidden online five-letter answer in the Wordle game in May, 2022, the word was searched on the dictionary’s site almost 75,000 times, according to the University of Cambridge, mostly by baffled Wordle players living outside North America.

Wordle is a daily online word game, reported Cnet. Similar to the game Mastermind where you must guess a colored pattern chosen by your opponent, Wordle gives players six chances to guess a randomly selected five-letter word. If you have the right letter in the right spot, the letter shows up green. A correct letter in the wrong spot shows up yellow. A letter that isn't in the word in any spot shows up gray. 

Just like a crossword puzzle, Wordle can only be played once a day. There’s a new word of the day posted every 24 hours, and it's up to you to figure out what it is.

You can enter a total of six words, meaning you can enter five burner words from which you can learn hints about the letters and their placements.Then you get one chance to put those hints to use. Or you can try for performance and guess the word of the day in three, two or even one go.

Humble Origins
Wordle was created in 2021 at the height of the Corona pandemic by New York-based Welsh software engineer Josh Wardle, who designed it to play with his partner. It was acquired by The New York Times company in 2022. Today, just under 3 million people play Wordle based on daily result posts on social media, according to Fiction Horizon.

Cambridge Dictionary’s choice for word of the year illustrates the popularity of a simple game that could be shared online when global pandemic restrictions limited social interactions for millions, reported CNN, giving rise to what is called, “The Wordle Effect.”

“Perhaps it’s no wonder that people enjoy the focus and mental challenge of a simple word game that can be a shared experience with family and friends, whether they’re physically together or not, at a time of volatility and prolonged recovery from a global pandemic,” Wendalyn Nichols, Cambridge Dictionary's publishing manager, said in affirmation on the dictionary’s website.

Interestingly, "Wordle's words, and the public's reactions to them, illustrate how English speakers continue to be divided over differences between English language varieties, even when they're playing a globally popular new word game that has brought people together online for a friendly competition about language,” she said.

When the word “bloke” was used in February, British players were chuffed at how many US players were stumped, Laura Harmen told Women & Home.

Alternative Word of the Year
Don’t fret if you don’t play Wordle. You can still appreciate Cambridge Dictionary’s word choice. Or perhaps you’d prefer Merriam-Webster’s word of the year: gaslighting. “In this age of misinformation — of “fake news” conspiracy theories, Twitter trolls, and deepfakes — gaslighting has emerged as a word for our time,” according to a press release from Merriaim-Webster. But stick with homer, its sure to be a hit!

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