Atoll Wordle (Nov 2022): Know the Definition & Puzzle Connection

Wordle is a fun and addicting game that is sweeping the nation. In this web-based word puzzle game, your job is to guess a five-letter word displayed on the screen. You have six attempts to solve the puzzle, and with each attempt you make, the system will tell you which of your chosen letters is in the final target word and whether they are in the correct place.

This November, we’re featuring the word “atoll.” This was the Wordle answer on May 30th, 2022, and many people have been asking for its definition. So, here it is!

Defining “Atoll” Wordle

An atoll is a ring-shaped coral reef that surrounds a lagoon. The lagoon is often filled with fish and other sea life, making it a popular destination for snorkelers and scuba divers. But where does the word “atoll” come from? 

The most common theory is that the word comes from the Dhivehi language, spoken in the Maldives. In Dhivehi, the word “atholhu” refers to an administrative district surrounded by a reef. However, there’s no evidence to support this theory. 

Another theory suggests that the word “atoll” comes from the Gilbertese language, spoken in Kiribati. In Gilbertese, the word “atalu” means “reef” or “shoal.” Again, there is no concrete evidence to back up this claim. 

So if we don’t know where the word “atoll” comes from, how did it become part of the English language? The first recorded use of the word was in 1788 by Captain William Bligh, who was stranded on an atoll in the South Pacific after being overthrown in a mutiny. Bligh and his men were eventually rescued, and he recorded their experiences in his journal. It’s likely that Bligh heard the word used by locals and then brought it back to England when he returned home. 

What is Wordle, again?

While we’ve already mentioned what this game is earlier, for the sake of completeness, let’s go over the basics again.

Wordle is a daily word game created by Josh Wardle, a software engineer from Brooklyn who has become known for making interesting social experiments. People on the internet are greeted every day with a new word puzzle that can only be solved—or not!—by using a series of clues called “rules of elimination.”

When you go to the Wordle website, you see a grid of empty white boxes that is 5 wide by 6 long. Each box can hold one letter, and you have to guess the answer by typing a five-letter word and pressing Enter.

Since there are no hints at the beginning, any five-letter word will do as a first guess. This is where the real fun of Wordle begins. When you pass along a guess, the color of the box for each letter changes.

  • If it turns green, that letter is in the daily word and you’ve put it in the right place.
  • If it turns yellow, the letter is in the word, but you have it in the wrong place.
  • If the box turns gray, the letter is not in the word at all.

Bonus: Helpful Tips for Playing Wordle

First, don’t make the same mistake that most people do: The first time you visit the site, that pop-up window is a fixed tutorial, not a clue for the day’s puzzle. Since it looks clearer on a PC screen than on the browser we usually use on our phones, that’s probably not a common mistake. But most of us did make it, which means you might too.

In terms of more helpful tips, you won’t understand this until you’ve played a few times, but words can have the same letter in more than one place. So, if the word of the day was “APPLE” and your first guess was “PAPER,” the first “P” would get a yellow box because it was the right letter but in the wrong place, while the second “P” would get a green box because it was both the right letter and the right place.

You can also change a few things by clicking the gear icon at the top of the Wordle website. There is an option called “Dark Theme” for people who don’t like how bright a mostly white screen can be. A “Hard Mode” switch means that every guess after the first one must take into account the hints that have been shown. So, going back to our “APPLE” example, every guess after “PAPER” would have to use “A,” “E,” and two letters “P,” with one of the “P” letters always going into the third box.) Lastly, there is a “Color Blind Mode” that lets people who need or want it to use colors with a lot of contrast.

Some people spend a lot of time trying to figure out how Wordle works and how it lets us play with the (English) language. Others have taken more of a lesson from Wordle’s initially DIY vibe with the game and embraced that for their own lives.

Wrapping Up

There’s really no “wrong” way to play Wordle, though. The beauty of this word puzzle game is in how easy it is to use. It won’t let you get away with putting in a bunch of random letters instead of a real word. Every guess you make is checked against Wordle’s own dictionary. If your guess is not a real word, the game won’t let you move on.

Just try it and see what happens. Once you’ve caught the bug, it’s hard not to keep coming back for more.

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