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Word games (also called word game puzzles) are spoken or board games often designed to test ability with language or to explore its properties.
Word games are generally engaged as a source of entertainment, but have been found to serve an educational purpose as well. For instance, young children can find enjoyment playing modestly competitive games such as Hangman, while naturally developing important language skills like spelling. Solving crossword puzzles, which requires familiarity with a larger vocabulary, is a pastime that mature adults have long credited with keeping their minds sharp.
There are popular televised word games with valuable monetary prizes for the winning contestants. Many word games enjoy international popularity across a multitude of languages, while some are unique to English-speakers.
Language-predicated educational games
A word game or word puzzle can be of several different types:
Letter arrangement games
The goal is to form words out of given letters.
- Alpha Blitz
- Anagrams – both a simple game of rearranging letters and a linguistic recreation of making anagrams that seem to illuminate something about the original word, such as "Old west action" for "Clint Eastwood"
- Bonza (Word Game)
- Chicktionary – Game from Blockdot
- Euler's Day Off
- Jumble – game of word forming with letter permutations
- Letterpress (video game)
- Pass the Bomb – make a word including the given letters before the bomb explodes
- Pick Two rearranging word tile crossword game
- Play on Words – a NEW word game with cards, a word-building, word-CHANGING game with exceptional versatility
- Quiddler – a game of forming words using a deck of cards with letters printed on them
- Scrabble and its variants
- Scriptorium – the game that gives meaning to words
- Take a Letter
- Word Monsters
- Word Streak with Friends
- Words with Friends
Paper and pencil games/puzzles
- Crossword puzzles
- Cryptic crossword
- Jotto (or Giotto)
- Word Force
- Word polygon – A puzzle often included in newspapers combining an anagram with a type of wordsearch
- Word search
Games focusing on the semantics of words.
These are games based on words and letters.
- Anagram as discussed above
- Constrained writing
- Homophone Word Game
- Kangaroo words
- Letter banks
- Spelling bee
- The Man Who Melted Jack Dann
- Word chain (also called The Name Game or Celebrity Name Game Challenge)
- Word ladder
- Fortunately, Unfortunately
- Rebuses – picture puzzles representing a word
- Verbal arithmetic
- Anagram dictionary
- Double entendre
- Fortunately, Unfortunately
- Language game for a linguistic variant
- List of puzzle video games
- Online word game
- Phono-semantic matching
- Word play for literary works in which the nature of the words used themselves become part of the subject of the work
- Word Ways: The Journal of Recreational Linguistics