Word Pattern Finder

v1.5.0, 2023-10-02 by Robert Giordano

The Design215 Word Pattern Finder is our second word finder utility. It uses wildcards, include, exclude, and patterns to find similar words. This utility can help with wordle, crossword puzzles, hangman, substitution ciphers, and other word games. To unscramble words or find anagrams, try our original word finder.

Step 1: Select a Word List

UPDATED for 2022! My original post about the old word lists is here.

192,111 words, less than 16 letters, no names, no acronyms, etc.

210,781 words, Standard Linux word list MERGED with Scrabble® words

Step 2: What are you Looking For?

PATTERN (optional)


space or dash = placeholder



Directions and Tips

  • Enter Known Letters like:   f--k
    You can use the KNOWN LETTERS field by itself to help with crosswords and similar puzzles. Enter f--k to find four letter words that start with "f" and end with "k", like "fork" and "funk".
  • If NO Letters are known, use all dashes:   -------
    If you're looking for a 7 letter word, but you don't know any of the letters, just type 7 dashes or spaces in KNOWN LETTERS.
  • Enter patterns like:   ;46(;88*
    The PATTERN field is optional and is useful for solving simple substitution ciphers and cryptograms. The pattern ;46(;88* will find words like "BLUEBOOK", "RESTROOM", and "THIRTEEN". Looking at the pattern, we know the 1st and 5th letters are the same, and the 6th and 7th letters are the same. Use this in combination with the KNOWN LETTERS field to narrow down the words. For example, enter ;46(;88* in PATTERN and t---t--- in KNOWN LETTERS.
  • Enter patterns with placeholders like:   --aabb---
    This will find words like "BALLOONED", "COFFEEPOT", and "SUCCEEDED". You can also use this with KNOWN LETTERS. For example, --aabb--- in PATTERN and b-------- in KNOWN LETTERS, will only find "BALLOONED".
  • The CONTAINS field works two ways. Enter "cat" with the checkbox unchecked, and you'll find words like "catch", "locate", and "tomcat". If "any order" is checked, you'll find words containing the letters "c", "a", and "t", in any order, like "cadet", "exact", and "teach".
  • Use DOES NOT CONTAIN to exclude any letters that you do not want shown in the results, letters that have already been used (like in Hangman), or letters that are not available.

We Want Your Suggestions!

If you find a bug, or have any suggestions to make our utility better, please leave a comment below or contact us directly. We want to constantly improve our site by listening to your feedback! =)

  • Version 1.5.0, 2023-10-02
    Spaces are now converted to placeholders in KNOWN LETTERS and PATTERN. This makes it faster and easier on a phone. I also increased the font size and improved the instructions.
  • Version 1.4.2, 2022-03-03
    Added some code to disable auto-correct on iPhones. When typing -- for placeholders, it was turning into a long dash. Thanks to a user for the suggestion!
  • Version 1.4.1, 2019-08-25
    Enabled placeholders in the PATTERN field. Thanks to a user for the suggestion!
  • Version 1.4.0, 2019-08-22
    Fixed a compatibility issue with UTF-8 characters used in the PATTERN field
  • Version 1.3, 2012-12-31
    PATTERN searches and KNOWN LETTERS now work together. Optimized code finds words 20-30% faster. Page description updated.

SCRABBLE is a trademark of Hasbro in the United States and Canada.
Scrabble rights elsewhere in the world are held by J.W. Spear and Sons, PLC.




Length of word

26 Feb 2022 7:23am

"Great stuff. But how do I simply tell it to find words containing i, p and not contain o, u, n, a, d and have 7 letters? And a letter may repeat? Like STRETCH

[Reply from Robert Giordano]
1. type 7 dashes in KNOWN LETTERS, like -------
2. in CONTAINS, put ip
3. in DOES NOT CONTAIN, put ounad

It will not find STRETCH because there is no i or p"


Pattern Explanation?

05 Feb 2022 10:10am

"Can you provide any more info on how to use the pattern feature? Is it just token replacement? So 112233 is the same as ;;&&**?

[Reply from Robert Giordano]
Yes, exactly!!"


How to specify patterns

23 Jan 2022 6:33pm

"Hi, I don't understand the syntax to specify a pattern. Are detailed instructions already posted? The tips shows the pattern ;46(;88* but doesn't elaborate what it means.

For example, how would I specify a 5-letter word that must include M,I, and excludes "AOU". The first letter cannot be M, and second letter cannot be I ?

[Reply from Robert Giordano]
Patterns are more for solving cryptograms and ciphers. Here are the steps for your example:
1. type 5 dashes in KNOWN LETTERS, like -----
2. in CONTAINS, put mi
3. in DOES NOT CONTAIN, put aou

At this time, I don't have a way to say the first letter cannot be "m" but you can simply look at the results and ignore the ones starting with mi. The results are in alphabetical order.

There are 179 results"


Useful tool!!

03 May 2021 9:12am

"Thanks for this, my friend made a cipher and I had been trying to solve it for days before I found this. I found most of it within a couple hours of finding this website!!"


Word patterns

14 May 2019 4:28pm

"I tried the pattern --aabb--- and got nothing. I can think of one common word that fits, BALLOONED, plus less common HALLOOING and SWEETTALK used as a verb. Is there a restriction that you cannot use the "-" placeholder in a pattern?

[Reply from Robert Giordano]
I recently edited the instructions and hopefully they are better now. I JUST fixed placeholders in the PATTERN field. I tested it with your pattern and got:


Apparently "SWEETTALK" is not a valid Scrabble word"



28 May 2018 6:42am

"On my tablet, dash asplaceholder means I have to switch virtual keyboard.could you allow ? Say or . As placeholder?

[Reply from Robert Giordano]
That's definitely a possibility. We are in the process of the upgrading the entire site for mobile so I'll keep that in mind. I might even make it so there are multiple placeholder characters."


Steve Mitchell Sr.

23 Jan 2018 4:47pm

"Robert, many thanks for your amazing creation of Toolbox Utilities, which I relied on, for six years of word games and puzzle creations for Korean university English classes, until retirement recently. Your work has been a significant contribution to Education world-wide, and will also assist in tutoring homeschoolers, and helping TIMAGA [ Trump In Making America Great Again ]. Thanx Sorry that I don't use or trust social media, since a colleague had great difficulty in opting out way back."


Casey need help

21 Sep 2017 8:43am

"Ok I have a puzzle that my 87 year granny is working on in the local paper. We are stumped!!! The scrambled words are as followed : Singaebitrrt it has to be in two 6 letter words, the hint is, The Alaskan fishing boat captain was disoriented and needed to get his ____? Would you please help I seem to not be doing something right!! Thanks

[Reply from Robert Giordano]
The answer is "Bering Strait" but since this is a name of a location, "Bering" is not in the current word list.

In the future, I may add options where you can select additional word lists for slang, names, places, etc."



05 Oct 2016 3:01pm

"I love this! It would be perfect if you had the definition of the word or a link to the definition...that's probably too hard to do but it would be so nice if that's possible!"


missing letters

14 Feb 2015 8:33am

"_ _ u p _ u _ _ o _ t a _. ans me this missing letters plzz

[Reply from Robert Giordano]
The current word list does not have names of people or places.

Here are the only 13-letter words in the list where "UP" are the 3rd and 4th letters:


I got these by searching for --up---------"



20 Dec 2014 9:58am

"Thanks for this great puzzle help! I would like to search for two words at once with similar or overlapping patterns, like "abcde fcdeg" is this somehow possible with this great tool?

[Reply from Robert Giordano]
I might be able to add that feature in the future."



23 Nov 2013 8:55am

"Hello, great ressource. I find it very useful. However, when using patterns, a regexp option would be helpful. Say I have a pattern and suspect some letters to be within a small range. This can be done with KNOWN LETTERS, but every combo must be tested separately. Say I have pattern abccde and suspect the 1st letter to be among T, O and S and the last among E, N, R. This means 9 runs when a regexp option would require only one !"



02 Feb 2013 1:07pm

"Great site and very helpful for cryptograms. What language did use to program it? Is it perl?"



01 Nov 2012 6:19am

"Great site - use it nearly every day - seasonal word missing - HALLOWEEN - was not listed when provided the pattern RQFFBEOOM. Thought you would want to know...

[Reply from Robert Giordano]
Thanks for your comment. This is one of the Scrabble word list's caveats. "Halloween", for whatever reason, is not listed as an official Scrabble Tournament word. "Halloween" IS LISTED in the "Standard" word list. I'm working on an unabridged word list that will combine the two. Some people want to know if a word is a "legal" word under Scrabble rules. Others don't care, hence the two word lists."


Known Letters ??

26 Sep 2012 8:01am

"I am SOOOOO Glad you are back - love your site. Since you have returned I am unable to get the "KNOWN LETTERS" field to work. I usually fill in the PATTERN first and run that and then see the narrowed field after entering the "KNOWN LETTERS" - doing this, the result is not changed - the KNOWN LETTERS are cleared and typing them in again and trying gives the same result. Hope this helps you find the bug - or maybe it just me - I am using Googles Chrome browser, but have seen it on IE also.

[UPDATED 31 DEC 2012]
PATTERN searches and KNOWN LETTERS now work together!! Thanks for your feedback! It helps us constantly improve our utilities.

[Original Reply from Robert Giordano, Edited]
Thanks for the compliments and we are glad to be back as well!! The Word Pattern Finder was rebuilt from scratch and it might work a bit differently.

In most cases, people use KNOWN LETTERS with Include and/or Exclude to find the words they want. I designed PATTERN searches for special cases, like solving cryptograms, finding words that start and end with the same letters, and so on. That being said, please let me know if you have any more trouble. Suggestions for improvements are always welcome. =)"


love site but missing word

23 Sep 2012 7:46am

"I'm so glad one of my favorite sites is back! But it failed to help me find the word "buttoning" when given B---O-I-G

[Reply from Robert Giordano]
Thanks for pointing this out. It was definitely a bug and we just fixed it. We had to rebuild many of our utilities because of a data center issue where we lost our main web server and our backup server. I just tried your known letters B---O-I-G and got:

buttoning <-- including this one!

Thanks again for pointing out the problem! If you see any more bugs please tell us.





07 Aug 2012 1:04pm

"superb site.."


Word Patterns

09 Apr 2012 3:16am

"Many thanks for this excellent tool; fast to use and full of useful word suggestions. I particularly appreciate your Directions and Tips for entering known letters."



20 Feb 2012 10:56am

"This is the best Website on the Internet!"



01 Dec 2011 2:25am

"I love your program! I'm using it to generate word lists for my students."



23 Jun 2011 11:32am

"Only thing to make this perfect. If you do a search, but then add a letter to exclude, you can't search again until you delete a known letter, search, then put the known letter back."



11 Jun 2011 8:38pm

"SUPER DUPER tool, very useful, ill help you by clicking ads."



12 Sep 2010 12:02pm

"love it. just what i was looking for"


Really useful for word games

07 Sep 2010 11:48pm

"if you are playing a word game then nothing in this world can help much more than this tool, thanks coder."


i lik3 diz

13 Dec 2009 10:02am

"daum diz crap helpz me find my wordz faster"


Thanks for the great tool

26 Jun 2009 1:27pm

"This is a great tool for word games. My favorite resource!"


gregg gusta

12 Apr 2009 4:18pm

"lovin' it"



22 Jan 2009 1:13pm

"awesome - really helpful"



11 Dec 2008 9:47am

"man this thang is whack"



22 Sep 2008 8:05pm

"great tool, used often!!! thank you"



10 Jul 2008 5:04am

"This is pretty awesome. Thank you! :)"