Today's Wordle answer and hints for game #982, Monday, February 26

A phone displaying the Wordle logo sitting on a table surrounded by paperclips, pens and notebooks
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It's time for your guide to today's Wordle answer, featuring my commentary on the latest puzzle, plus a selection of hints designed to help you keep your streak going.

Don't think you need any clues for Wordle today? No problem, just skip to my daily column. But remember: failure in this game is only ever six guesses away.   

Want more word-based fun? My Quordle today page contains hints and answers for that game, which remains the best of all the main Wordle alternatives.

SPOILER WARNING: Today's Wordle answer and hints are below, so don't read on if you don't want to see them.

Your Wordle expert
Marc McLaren
Your Wordle expert
Marc McLaren

Marc is TechRadar’s UK Editor in Chief and has been playing Wordle for more than two years. He's authored dozens of articles on the game for TechRadar and its sister site Tom's Guide, including a detailed analysis of the most common letters in every position. His Wordle streak has reached the 500 mark (and is now in the 700s) and he'll be inconsolable if he loses it. Yes, he takes it all too seriously.

Wordle hints (game #982) - clue #1 - Vowels

How many vowels does today's Wordle have?

Wordle today has vowels in two places*.

* Note that by vowel we mean the five standard vowels (A, E, I, O, U), not Y (which is sometimes counted as a vowel too). 

Wordle hints (game #982) - clue #2 - first letter

What letter does today's Wordle begin with?

The first letter in today's Wordle answer is O.

Vowels are generally less common than you'd expect at the start of a word, and O is only the 17th most likely letter to begin a Wordle answer.

Wordle hints (game #982) - clue #3 - repeated letters

Does today's Wordle have any repeated letters?

There are no repeated letters in today's Wordle.

Repeated letters are quite common in the game, with 748 of the 2,309 Wordle answers containing one. However, it's still more likely that a Wordle doesn't have one.

Wordle hints (game #982) - clue #4 - ending letter

What letter does today's Wordle end with?

The last letter in today's Wordle is N.

N is a pretty common ending letter in Wordle: it's the seventh most likely in that position and features in 130 solutions.

Wordle hints (game #982) - clue #5 - last chance

Still looking for more Wordle hints today? Here's an extra one for game #982.

  • Today's Wordle answer is frequent.

If you just want to know today's Wordle answer now, simply scroll down – but I'd always recommend trying to solve it on your own first. We've got lots of Wordle tips and tricks to help you, including a guide to the best Wordle start words.

If you don't want to know today's answer then DO NOT SCROLL ANY FURTHER BECAUSE IT IS PRINTED BELOW. So don't say you weren't warned!

Today's Wordle answer (game #982)

Wordle answer for game 982 on a yellow background

(Image credit: New York Times)

Today's Wordle answer (game #982) is… OFTEN.

And so the week starts as the weekend ended: with a straightforward Wordle that has an average of a little below 4.0. In the case of OFTEN, it rates as a 3.8 in difficulty, according to WordleBot, compared to the 3.7 for yesterday's SMITH (see below).

That F in position #2 is probably the most unusual thing about it, given that only eight of Wordle's 2,309 solutions have one there. But it's also worth noting that the O at the start is only slightly more likely; there are 41 of them, which may sound like a lot more, but O still only ranks 17th as a starting letter. 

That shouldn't really be too much of a surprise by now. Vowels are an important part of nearly all Wordle words, but they are not evenly distributed across the answers. For the purposes of this column, there are five vowels: A, E, I, O and U. Yes, I know that Y sometimes acts as one too, but it would be far too complicated for me to allow for that here, given that I'd have to consider each instance individually. Sorry, that's just the way it is!

Anyway, vowels therefore make up 23% of letters in the game (five out of 26), but they account for a massive 35% of all letters actually appearing among Wordle answers. But… when used at the start, they only number 16% of the total. So there you go: based on probably, you shouldn't play a vowel at the start of a Wordle guess.

Of course, today it would have helped if you did, so long as that vowel was O. Unfortunately, none of the best Wordle starting words begin with that letter, so the most successful options were instead those that contained T, E and N (or that used the O elsewhere). SAINT, for instance, left 21 possible solutions and TASER 28. But none of the top 20 were lower than that, and WordleBot's favorites (CRANE, SLATE and TRACE) left 90, 117 and 88 respectively.

My random opener was even less helpful. DECOY was not a terrible word to play, and gave me the two yellow vowels – but that still left 149 words for me to pick from.

Once again, then, my second word was all-important – and today I got it right. I played LONER, because the yellow E suggested the possibility of another ER answer, and though I was wrong on that front it worked wonderfully anyway, confirming the E and giving me a yellow N.

WordleBot said I had now had three words left, but of course I didn't know that at the time. As it happens, I could only find two: OFTEN and ONSET. The other, WordleBot said, was OAKEN.

OFTEN seemed like a far more likely answer than ONSET, so I went with that first while accepting that I might end up scoring a 4/6. I needn't have worried; all five letters turned green and I beat WordleBot for the second day in a row.      

How did you do today? Send me an email and let me know.

Yesterday's Wordle hints (game #981)

In a different time zone where it's still Sunday? Don't worry – I can give you some clues for Wordle #981, too.

  • Wordle yesterday had a vowel in one place.

* Note that by vowel we mean the five standard vowels (A, E, I, O, U), not Y (which is sometimes counted as a vowel too). 

  • The first letter in yesterday's Wordle answer was S.

S is the most common starting letter in the game, featuring in 365 of Wordle's 2,309 answers. In fact, it's almost twice as likely to begin an answer as the next most common starting letter, C.

  • There were no repeated letters in yesterday's Wordle.

Repeated letters are quite common in the game, with 748 of the 2,309 Wordle answers containing one. However, it's still more likely that a Wordle doesn't have one.

  • The last letter in yesterday's Wordle was H.

H is a regular visitor to the final spot in a Wordle word. It occurs 137 times at the end of a Wordle answer, making it the sixth most common letter there.

Still looking for more Wordle hints? Here's an extra one for game #981.

  • Yesterday's Wordle answer is a worker of metal.

Yesterday's Wordle answer (game #981)

Wordle answer for game 981 on a yellow background

(Image credit: New York Times)

Yesterday's Wordle answer (game #981) was… SMITH.

This takes us from one end of the spectrum almost to the other; after yesterday's incredibly tough PIPER (see below), SMITH is a much more manageable puzzle that has an average score of 3.7. 

SMITH has several hallmarks of an easy game, in that it starts with S (the most common opening letter among Wordle's answers), and ends with TH (one of the more common endings). There are no repeated letters and no really uncommon letters, either. However, M and H are in the middle of the probability range and don't appear in many good start words, which is probably why the average is not down below 3.5.

Another factor that might have confused people is that SMITH is more commonly used as a proper noun than a noun these days, and names are not included among the answers unless they have a dual meaning as this one does. You're also far more likely to hear SMITH as part of a longer word – blacksmith, say – than you are on its own, and interestingly it doesn't appear among Word and Phrase Info's top 60,000 words.

That aside, it still counts as a straightforward Wordle, and one that is unlikely to result in many failures. Indeed, if you got very lucky with your choice of the best Wordle starting words a 3/6 should certainly have been in reach, and you may even have had a chance of a 2/6.

That's exactly what happened to me, with FILTH – not my choice as such, because I use a different random word each day – leaving me with only one possible solution, which I duly played at the first opportunity. The other big successes today were SLATE and SAINT, which each left eight options.

Much as I like to score a 2/6, I'd rather have had to work a little harder for it, but that's probably just me never being satisfied. The main thing is that I beat WordleBot, which could only manage a below-par 4/6. Job done.

Wordle answers: The past 50

I've been playing Wordle every day for more than two years now and have tracked all of the previous answers so I can help you improve your game. Here are the last 50 solutions starting with yesterday's answer, or check out my past Wordle answers page for the full list.

  • Wordle #981, Sunday 25 February: SMITH
  • Wordle #980, Saturday 24 February: PIPER
  • Wordle #979, Friday 23 February: APART
  • Wordle #978, Thursday 22 February: HEAVY
  • Wordle #977, Wednesday 21 February: BUILD
  • Wordle #976, Tuesday 20 February: MATCH
  • Wordle #975, Monday 19 February: PRICE
  • Wordle #974, Sunday 18 February: RIDGE
  • Wordle #973, Saturday 17 February: PSALM
  • Wordle #972, Friday 16 February: STASH
  • Wordle #971, Thursday 15 February: ASCOT
  • Wordle #970, Wednesday 14 February: TALON
  • Wordle #969, Tuesday 13 February: SCRAM
  • Wordle #968, Monday 12 February: PASTA
  • Wordle #967, Sunday 11 February: NEVER
  • Wordle #966, Saturday 10 February: FRIED
  • Wordle #965, Friday 9 February: STIFF
  • Wordle #964, Thursday 8 February: PLACE
  • Wordle #963, Wednesday 7 February: AFTER
  • Wordle #962, Tuesday 6 February: WHICH
  • Wordle #961, Monday 5 February: REPEL
  • Wordle #960, Sunday 4 February: VERGE
  • Wordle #959, Saturday 3 February: MICRO
  • Wordle #958, Friday 2 February: CLEFT
  • Wordle #957, Thursday 1 February: ALIVE
  • Wordle #956, Wednesday 31 January: BULKY
  • Wordle #955, Tuesday 30 January: EXPEL
  • Wordle #954, Monday 29 January: LEGGY
  • Wordle #953, Sunday 28 January: EMBER
  • Wordle #952, Saturday 27 January: SNAKE
  • Wordle #951, Friday 26 January: ALOOF
  • Wordle #950, Thursday 25 January: BLOCK
  • Wordle #949, Wednesday 24 January: RELIC
  • Wordle #948, Tuesday 23 January: STILL
  • Wordle #947, Monday 22 January: TWEAK
  • Wordle #946, Sunday 21 January: NORTH
  • Wordle #945, Saturday 20 January: LARGE
  • Wordle #944, Friday 19 January: THING
  • Wordle #943, Thursday 18 January: STOLE
  • Wordle #942, Wednesday 17 January: COURT
  • Wordle #941, Tuesday 16 January: BLOND
  • Wordle #940, Monday 15 January: LUNCH
  • Wordle #939, Sunday 14 January: DOING
  • Wordle #938, Saturday 13 January: HEARD
  • Wordle #937, Friday 12 January: ROUTE
  • Wordle #936, Thursday 11 January: BRIEF
  • Wordle #935, Wednesday 10 January: THREW
  • Wordle #934, Tuesday 9 January: LINER
  • Wordle #933, Monday 8 January: FINAL
  • Wordle #932, Sunday 7 January: STONY

What is Wordle?

If you're on this page then you almost certainly know what Wordle is already, and indeed have probably been playing it for a while. And even if you've not been playing it, you must surely have heard of it by now, because it's the viral word game phenomenon that took the world by storm last year and is still going strong in 2024.

We've got a full guide to the game in our What is Wordle page, but if you just want a refresher then here are the basics.

What is Wordle?

Wordle challenges you to guess a new five-letter word each day. You get six guesses, with each one revealing a little more information. If one of the letters in your guess is in the answer and in the right place, it turns green. If it's in the answer but in the wrong place, it turns yellow. And if it's not in the answer at all it turns gray. Simple, eh? 

It's played online via the Wordle website or the New York Times' Crossword app (iOS / Android), and is entirely free. 

Crucially, the answer is the same for everyone each day, meaning that you're competing against the rest of the world, rather than just against yourself or the game. The puzzle then resets each day at midnight in your local time, giving you a new challenge, and the chance to extend your streak.

What are the Wordle rules?

The rules of Wordle are pretty straightforward, but with a couple of curveballs thrown in for good measure.

1. Letters that are in the answer and in the right place turn green.

2. Letters that are in the answer but in the wrong place turn yellow. 

3. Letters that are not in the answer turn gray.

4. Answers are never plural.

5. Letters can appear more than once. So if your guess includes two of one letter, they may both turn yellow, both turn green, or one could be yellow and the other green.

6. Each guess must be a valid word in Wordle's dictionary. You can't guess ABCDE, for instance.

7. You do not have to include correct letters in subsequent guesses unless you play on Hard mode.

8. You have six guesses to solve the Wordle.

9. You must complete the daily Wordle before midnight in your timezone.

10. All answers are drawn from Wordle's list of 2,309 solutions. However…

11. Wordle will accept a wider pool of words as guesses – some 10,000 of them. For instance, you can guess a plural such as WORDS. It definitely won't be right (see point 4 above), but Wordle will accept it as a guess.

Marc McLaren
UK Editor in Chief

Marc is TechRadar’s UK Editor in Chief, the latest in a long line of senior editorial roles he’s held in a career that started the week that Google launched (nice of them to mark the occasion). Prior to joining TR, he was UK Editor in Chief on Tom’s Guide, where he oversaw all gaming, streaming, audio, TV, entertainment, how-to and cameras coverage. He's also a former editor of the tech website Stuff and spent five years at the music magazine NME, where his duties mainly involved spoiling other people’s fun. He’s based in London, and has tested and written about phones, tablets, wearables, streaming boxes, smart home devices, Bluetooth speakers, headphones, games, TVs, cameras and pretty much every other type of gadget you can think of. An avid photographer, Marc likes nothing better than taking pictures of very small things (bugs, his daughters) or very big things (distant galaxies). He also enjoys live music, gaming, cycling, and beating Wordle (he authors the daily Wordle hints page).