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American Dictionary Buys Beloved Wordle Clone Quordle

Merriam-Webster has big plans for the Dark Souls of Wordle

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A photo shows someone playing Quordle on their phone.
Photo: NurPhoto (Getty Images)

Quordle is one of the more popular and difficult Wordle clones out there. Instead of solving just one linguistic brain teaser a day, you have to solve four puzzles simultaneously. And now it’s owned by Merriam-Webster, a dictionary company that appears to increasingly be pivoting from definitions to online games.

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

After the initial Wordle frenzy began to subside somewhat, some power-users started searching for weirder and more challenging spin-offs. There’s a math variant called Nerdle, one that keeps changing the answer called Absurdle, and many, many more. Then there’s a whole sub-genre of Wordle clones that just keeps stacking up more and more puzzles alongside one another. Dordle has you solve two. Duotrigordle has you attempt 32. At just four, Quordle has always felt like the “just right” Goldilocks amount of Wordle masochism.

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And now it belongs to Merriam-Webster. Meyer didn’t immediately disclose the exact dollar value of the sale, but it comes roughly a year after The New York Times purchased the original Wordle for a reportedly low-seven-figure sum. The idea there was for the media platform to grow out its games section, an increasingly lucrative part of its business, even if it didn’t immediately stick Wordle behind a paywall.

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Merriam-Webster, which is actually owned by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., itself controlled by the Swiss investment banker Jacqui Safra, appears to be interested in a similar play. As PC Gamer points out, the dictionary company turned online reference depot already sports a number of other puzzle games, brain teasers, and knowledge tests. It’s probably a better reason to visit the site than hunting for a word’s meaning or a synonym that Google will serve you up instantly from competitor Oxford English Dictionary.