Basics about my Hanging with Friends dictionary

The actual Hanging with Friends dictionary is not published online (that I could find). But Zynga bases their dictionary on the widely available Enhanced North American Benchmark LExicon (ENABLE). I downloaded it from here. The ENABLE word list I downloaded consists of 172,820 words. But Hanging with Friends restricts their word list to only words with 4,5,6,7 or 8 letters. This narrows the dictionary significantly. In addition, according to Zynga’s Words with Friends rule book,

Words With Friends has more than 173,000 acceptable words for use in the game. Our list is based on the Enhanced North American Benchmark Lexicon (ENABLE), a public domain list used by many word games. Tap here to visit the site where the original ENABLE list resides. We’ve added a few of our own words to game such as ‘zen’ and ‘texting,’ and more words may be added in the future. If you’d like to suggest a word, you can do that here.

I don’t have access to the exact list of words they added. I hunted around the internets and added a few more words from wordlists I found. They additionally state they have removed, “derogatory words and racial slurs.” I did a quick google search to try to find a list of these types of words to remove from my list. But I didn’t find a comprehensive list. As a result, I left all the bad words in my dictionary. Perhaps, I should have looked harder since in an upcoming post on the “hardest words” to guess, I’ll have to get out my red pen and censor my own post!

My end result is a dictionary of 82,555 words. Here’s the first look, of many, at some statistics about these words.

Length Number
4 4,031
5 8,939
6 15,788
7 24,029
8 29,768

And here’s a histogram (a histogram is a fancy word for bar graph. We mathematicians like to use fancy words. Did I mention I’m a mathematician? Well, now you know.

Word Length Distribution

Here are a few additional fast facts about the letter distributions in my dictionary. Some of these may turn out to be quite useful for our later discussions.

Letter Words
Number in
a 38,256 45,266 9
b 11,656 12,848 2
c 18,507 20,204 2
d 20,612 23,059 5
e 51,126 65,991 13
f 7,554 8,584 2
g 14,834 16,572 3
h 13,146 13,681 4
i 36,667 42,143 8
j 1,438 1,466 1
k 7,734 8,095 1
l 27,451 31,354 4
m 14,733 15,980 2
n 28,777 32,487 5
o 28,959 34,348 8
p 14,932 16,539 2
q 1,009 1,009 1
r 35,460 40,412 6
s 42,659 52,497 5
t 28,045 32,164 7
u 19,344 20,578 4
v 5,180 5,347 2
w 6,483 6,657 2
x 1,827 1,837 1
y 9,999 10,253 2
z 2,218 2,523 1


What’s all this mean for your strategies when building and guessing words? Well that’s what we’re here to explore. And these statistics are only the tip of the iceberg. Stay tuned.