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Dictionary biz finally infiates gaming as Merriam-Webster buys Quordle


Quordle.”>
A sample game of Quordle.


A year ago, the Wordle phenomenon was so huge that the venerable New York Times spent a “low seven-figure” sum to acquire the game and its massive player base. Now, a year later, the word-guessing game is still popular enough that blatant Wordle clone Quordle has been purchased by dictionary-maker Merriam-Webster.

As the name suggests, Quordle is simply a game of Wordle multiplied by four, with each guess simultaneously filling in information on all four boards. It’s part of a wave of similar “multi-Wordle” clones that started with Dordle last January and has since expanded to include the ridiculous 100-fold guessing of Centordle and the absolutely ludicrous 1,000-fold Kilordle.

Apparently “four at a time” was the sweet spot for Merriam-Webster, a 192-year-old dictionary company that isn’t exactly known for daily puzzles in the same way that The New York Times is. But the Merriam-Webster website has included some basic word games and quizzes since as least 2015. And while the modern version of that Games & Quizzes landing page doesn’t currently mention Quordle, the main Merriam-Webster website prominently features it as “a new daily challenge.”

“I’m delighted to announce that Quordle was acquired by Merriam-Webster!” Quordle creator Freddie Meyer announced on Twitter Friday. “I can’t think of a better home for this game. Lots of new features and fun to come, so stay tuned!”

While Merriam-Webster seemingly didn’t even bother with a press release to announce its new game purchase, company President Greg Barlow told Techcrunch that the game is “a favorite of Merriam-Webster editors” and that it “will make a great addition to our lineup of games and quizzes.”

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A Quordle purchase might seem a bit silly when an outfit like Merriam-Webster could easily have made a copy-of-a-copy version for itself. But the acquisition gives Merriam-Webster access to the Quordle brand name and website, which now redirects to the dictionary maker’s Games & Quizzes page. That Quordle site was popular enough to reportedly draw half a million daily players as of last April, and even now, Barlow told Techcrunch that the editors “look forward to playing along with the millions of Quordle fans every day.”

Those who want to keep playing without supporting “Big Dictionary” can move over to a number of existing Quordle clones (i.e., Wordle-clone clones) such as Quordle-Wordle, Quordle Game, or even an unofficial iOS app (so much for Apple’s “no copycats” policy). If any of those knock-offs of a knock-off are purchased by Roget’s Thesaurus or something, we’ll be sure to let you know.

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