What are word-games used by English speaking people?

Mention any! Links to online games or descriptions are welcome!

Context of question: something similar to How would an Englishman join “Awake and awkward” into one word?


6 Answers 6


I'm ignoring the possible meaning of verbal maneuvers. So, off the top of my head, there's

hangman, guess the word or words before the hangman is drawn,

I spy with my little eye, One person picks an object that he can see and says, "I spy with my little eye something beginning with (the first letter of that word)." The other person then has to guess the object. Kids often play this game on car journeys.

scrabble, the word boardgame of choice.


Possibly, charades, although this sometimes covers whole sentences rather than a word or two.

  • +1 for Scrabble. It's generally considered the most "high brow" of all the words games. Other good examples too.
    – Noldorin
    Feb 10, 2011 at 16:50
  • Boggle
  • Apples to Apples (spectacular game)
  • Taboo
  • Balderdash
  • +1 for Taboo. (1 more to go...)
    – Moshe
    Feb 6, 2011 at 23:38

My all-time favorite word game is Superghosts (a variation of Ghosts). In Ghosts, you start with a letter, then the next person appends a letter, and so on. The object of the game is to append a letter without completing a word. If you complete a word, you're out, and the game goes on without you (i.e. you become a "ghost"). Last person non-ghosted wins.

The strategy is to try add letters that will maneuver your opponents into completing a word.

You can challenge a person's letter if you do not believe there are any real words that contain the present combination of letters. If you are right, the challenged one is ghosted; if you are wrong, you are.

Superghosts adds the concept of prepending characters to the collection.

  • Ah, Ghosts is the best. More people need to know about it.
    – Jon Purdy
    Feb 6, 2011 at 20:30

Crosswords are extremely popular in America. The most well known crosswords come from the New York Times. You can play their older ones for free online or their daily new puzzles with a subscription.

  • But I understand that nearly all American crosswords, like many UK ones are barely word games: it's just finding words from the definition and fitting them into a grid. More interesting from this point of view are en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptic_crossword
    – Colin Fine
    Feb 7, 2011 at 18:02
  • Depends on the crossword and the day. Late-week crosswords tend to have more wordplay from what I've seen.
    – mmyers
    Feb 7, 2011 at 19:26

Mornington Crescent is an english word game played mainly (but not exclusively) with London Underground stations and above-ground rail stations. Depending on the local rules (which are many and varied) other place names, current, historical or fictional may be played.

The primary object of the game is to be the first to say Mornington Crescent. But you can't say it too soon, or you may be disqualified.

  • The word-game part though comes from discussing the rules in play
    – mgb
    Apr 3, 2011 at 18:15

One of my favorites is HIPE.

It's sort of a riddle game where a player #1 gives player #2 a three or four letter combination of letters that exists somewhere in the middle of another word (known to player #1). Player #2 has to figure out what the word is.

For example:


The name "HIPE" comes from a particularly challenging instance of this game.

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