Word puzzles can be a ton of fun. They work our brains out by challenging our neural pathways to stay strong while simultaneously calming us and reducing feelings of stress and anxiety. As if that wasn’t enough benefits, they’re also fantastic for our mental health and have even shown to have a positive impact on the risk of developing degenerative brain disorders in preliminary studies.

This being said, if you’re a bit rusty or there’s a great prize on the line (or that one friend who wins every time and we’re all so sick of it we want to throw our phones), things can quickly get frustrating. The following will explore some of the websites available for your use that can help you solve those particularly troublesome word puzzles.

Unscrambling Tools

The internet is full of websites; some are entertaining, some are foolish, and some help us find words in a pile of letters. Tools like Unscrambler will take any series of letters you give it and present you with every possible word you could construct with them. This is an excellent option if your word puzzle involves scrambled letters like Scrabble or Boggle. These sorts of tools can also help you deal with those blank-brain moments where you almost know the word you’re looking for; you know it starts with St and has an r in it—type those letters in and add and subtract vowels until you find what you’re looking for.

Online Rhyming Dictionaries

Sometimes word games involve a bit more pizazz and poetry. If you’re looking for rhyming words, you don’t have to spend a while searching. There are countless free rhyming dictionaries to be found online. All you have to do is type in the word that you’re working with and read through the results; many allow you to filter your results by the number of syllables. Some even provide a list of feminine rhymes if you’re looking to push the boundaries of rhyme a little in exchange for more profound meaning. Crosswords puzzles are notorious for rhyming clues (and sometimes, one word is all that stands between us and a pretty prize). This is also an excellent option for song-based or lyrical word games.

Urban Dictionary

What if the words you’re looking for or working with are based on slang or colloquialisms? It happens all the time in charades, Cards Against Humanity, and other comedic group word games. If you find yourself stumped, you can take a look at the Urban Dictionary Online. This tool is edited by both moderators and visitors to the site, meaning you can get a really firm handle on not only what a word means but how it’s used in everyday casual language. It can also help decipher teenagers when you’re in need of that.

A Trusty Dictionary

Yes, sometimes, a plain old dictionary is the answer to your word puzzle problems. Dictionary.com is an especially wonderful site for those of us who want to continue playing word games and keep getting better at them. The site even has a section for the word of the day and a synonym of the day. This means you can pop on quickly and improve your vocabulary with just a few clicks. The site also boasts a wonderful trending words blog where you can keep up to date with all the lingo that is catching on and falling off. Those of us who need to write business presentations but are tired of saying “synergy” like it’s 2010 can find out the new buzz words and incorporate them before they become obsolete. As a bonus, they offer free crossword puzzles daily to help you practice if you’re so inclined.

Hemingway Editor App

Sometimes word puzzles are a bit more in-depth. It’s not just one word we have to find, but entire sentences or paragraphs that we need to fiddle with. Internet writers swear by Hemingway App when it comes to critiquing words based on structure. It’s a free editor that you copy and paste your text into, and the goal of the site is to point out any place your writing could be clearer, simpler, or more concise. The aim is to get your sentences on par with Hemingway’s bold, straightforward writing style. Instances of passive voice, dreaded adverbs, simpler alternatives, and convoluted sentences are all highlighted. You’re even given a score each time you apply the editor to your text so you can see if you’re improving at all.

Grammarly Blog

In tandem with our previous point, sometimes word puzzles are more complex than a few syllables. Many of us haven’t thought about grammatical terminology since middle school, and that means when a hint involves a description of the word’s function, like for instance: the word you’re looking for is a compound noun tied to a movie you saw back in the 80s, we might need a little refresher. Grammarly’s blog is written by experts in the English language who know their stuff, but at the same time, the articles are kept easy to understand and approachable.

Reader’s Digest Word Puzzles List

The above sites can help you get through the tangle of sounds that your current word puzzle has you stumped on. When that’s done, you might be looking for more word games, and it turns out there are way more than you might expect. If you’re seeking more of a challenge with your word puzzle love, you might want to take a look at the word puzzle list curated by Reader’s Digest. They’ve sought out the trickiest puzzles out there that are bound to leave you stumped, at least for a little bit. Apparently, 60% of people can’t solve these puzzles. Have a go and see where you stack up.

The above websites should help you overcome whatever word puzzle hurdles arise. Of course, nothing helps out more than good old-fashioned practice. If you want to truly excel at whatever word game you’re playing (and reap all those brain benefits), you need to put in a bit of time. There are countless sites, newspapers, and magazines that offer practice puzzles for free. You can even get your hands on entire books that are full of word puzzles of varying degrees of difficulty. It’s a good idea to start with something that’s a challenge but not so difficult that it’s no longer fun.

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