The Rules

These are the official rules for Words With Friends. But before you can play any game you need to know the rules.

Overall Objective

Players exchange turns forming words horizontally or vertically on the board, trying to score as many points as possible for each word.

Tile Placement

  • The first word must be placed so that 1 of the tiles is on the star in the center of the board.
  • Every word following that must be placed so that at least 1 tile is shared from an existing word on the board.
  • Tiles can only be placed in the same line vertically or horizontally each turn.
  • Tiles can be placed so that multiple new words are formed simultaneously using neighboring letters.
  • Words cannot be placed if they create an illegal word using neighboring letters.
  • All words labelled as a part of speech (including those listed of foreign origin, and as archaic, obsolete, colloquial, slang, etc.) are permitted with the exception of the following: proper nouns (words always capitalized), abbreviations, prefixes and suffixes standing alone or words requiring a hyphen or an apostrophe.


  • Double the value of any tiles that were played this turn on a DL space, and triple the value of any tile that was played on a TL space this turn.  Do not double the value of tiles on DL and TL spaces for tiles that were played on previous rounds.
  • Add up the values of all letters in the word, even if some were played on a previous turn.
  • Double the value of the word if any tiles this turn were played on a DW space (and double it again in the case were 2 DW spaces were played upon). Triple the value of the word if any tiles this turn were played on a TW space (and triple it again if 2 TW spaces were used).  Do not multiply words if tiles on DW or TW spaces were used from a previous turn.
  • It is possible to create multiple words with the same play.  In this case, score each new word separately, including bonuses, and sum all of the new words together.
  • 35 bonus points are awarded whenever a player uses all 7 tiles on their rack in a single turn.

End Game

  • The game ends when one player plays every tile in his rack, and there are no tiles remaining to draw from.  The game could also end if three successive turns have occurred with no scoring and as long as the score is not zero-zero.
  • After the last tile is played, the opposing player will lose points equal to the sum of the value of his remaining tiles.  This amount is then awarded to the player who placed the last tile.
  • In the case of a tie, the player who had the highest score before the game ended is the winner.


Words With Friends has more than 173,000 acceptable words for use in the game. The list is based on the Enhanced North American Benchmark Lexicon (ENABLE), a public domain list used by many word games.

Also see How To Play and Cheats.


44 Responses to “The Rules”

  1. Jckicks2005 May 2, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

    how do I use a blank tile?

    • Art Wood February 26, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

      The game should not end if one player still has tiles and could win with another tile placement. Obviously, the end of game rule makes it clear that a player wins if their last tile puts them ahead. That makes the losing player, who had enough tiles to win , get screwed. Fix the damn problem to eliminate a bogus win.


      • Hilda February 27, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

        I agree with you, Art Wood. I had this happen just the other day. I lost but had a letter left that would have let me win…by 1.

  2. Dport869 June 7, 2012 at 11:21 pm #

    how do I use swap tiles?

  3. Jacqueline Jakubs Mikes July 14, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    Does a "wild card" letter such as J count as full value. I played adjust and received only 7 points and one letter was even DL. The J was a wild letter. Someone explain this rule to me.

  4. Marjorie L Johnson-Randell July 21, 2012 at 6:40 pm #

    On words with friends I had 387 points and my opponent had 387 points I used all of my letters and it said that I had lost. Please explain.

  5. Lezley Whitaker November 8, 2012 at 11:11 pm #

    been playing this long time…one"z" always…my son must some how be cheating for he used two "z's" in one word…i'm mad!

  6. Peggy Thomas December 27, 2012 at 10:43 pm #

    I don't get how eh, de, ya, za et, er, gi, eta are acceptable I just got beat bad by this.

    • Pat Donofrio February 23, 2013 at 6:41 am #

      I agree with that, and what about using a name like Joe? I did find the rules & a dictionary but the rules are vague and I'm just starting to look at the dictionary they have out here for this game.

      • Sequin38 August 11, 2013 at 11:23 pm #

        Joe is acceptable as it is also a slang word for coffee. Have you ever heard the expression “a cuppa joe”?

  7. Karleen Kawakami January 7, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    What are rules re: passing?

  8. Kathy Wade January 11, 2013 at 4:40 am #

    How many total tiles in a game and how many of each letter?

  9. Pat Mohan-Goepfert January 25, 2013 at 3:22 am #

    How can I lose with one tile left which would put me ahead of player who they said won!

    • justine casis May 1, 2015 at 6:59 am #

      It depends on who started first. The players should have an equal number of turns. Playing your letters would have given you an extra turn.

  10. Diane H. Mahan February 1, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

    Why did you accept the word AMIAS?

  11. Jo Tomey March 25, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

    Why won't the "resign" key work. I have an opponet that has not responded in 3 days & I want to close out the game.

  12. Pamela Lee March 30, 2013 at 10:07 pm #

    How many games can you have going at once? I am able to accept games, but not able to rematch my opponent when I win.

  13. Sandy Greeson Stull April 14, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

    what is the proper etiquette for starting a new game with someone u just finished playing with? does the loser or the winner of the game go first?

  14. Janet M Hagen April 24, 2013 at 1:20 am #

    Why can't I add a "s" following a word, like "need" or "tart." I am told that incorrect placement.

    • pmshah1946 October 14, 2014 at 4:15 am #

      Simply because the people who write the software do not play the game themselves !

    • pmshah1946 October 14, 2014 at 4:17 am #

      This in spite of both words existing in “Enhanced North American Benchmark Lexicon (ENABLE)” . I had a similar experience. It would not allow the word “jew”.

  15. Hope Karan Gerecht May 23, 2013 at 4:49 am #

    When starting, is it fair to decline sets of letters offered until you

  16. Hope Karan Gerecht May 24, 2013 at 8:08 am #

    Get letters that allow you to play a 5 letter word, or are you suppose to play he letters given to you initially? I am paying with someone who resigns games before

  17. Rosita Palomo Griffiths June 18, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

    How does WWF calculate average words on the Leader Board? Footer example, on this week's game, a player makes 311 points and his average is 62.2 which could mean he has only made 5 moves. If this player does not complete or resigns the game, his average would remain at 62.2. Shouldn't averages be calculated upon the completion of a game? Is there a fair method of calculating averages? I am very interested in how WWF calculates averages.

  18. Rosita Palomo Griffiths June 18, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

    On preceding comment, I meant: For example…

  19. Rosita Palomo Griffiths June 18, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

    Or, if the current average.calculation is as I've described.below, maybe some kind.of a weighted.factor applied to.make the average scoring be fair across the board.

  20. Rosita Palomo Griffiths June 18, 2013 at 11:20 pm #

    Here's one perfect example on my Leader Board. This player played only 36 points this week, and her 36 which puts her on the top as #3 player. I don't see the WWF method of calculating averages is accurate, nor is it fair. Averages should be calculated on a game that has been completed, not a game currently in play or a game that has been resigned. Or, apply a weighted factor to ensure actuate scoring and fairness to players.

  21. Kitty August 27, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    Why does WORDS respond “Not acceptable or misspelled – OK?” BUT will not let you use “OK” as a two-letter word?????

  22. pmshah1946 October 14, 2014 at 4:10 am #

    I came across 2 s very irritating situations.

    1. The word “jew” is very much there in the “Enhanced North American Benchmark Lexicon (ENABLE),” but was simply not accepted and I lost many points on multi-word placement and lost the game.

    2. I have tried multiple times to suggest words – present in Oxford, Cambridge and many American dictionary, also being used on regular basis in conversation but was simply unable to.

    3. You must publish modified “Enhanced North American Benchmark Lexicon (ENABLE),” that includes ALL the words added at your end which do not appear in the original.

  23. pmshah October 14, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

    I think you have to really change the dictionary. Word like “idol” is not included. How strange indeed!

    The dso called dictionary or Lexicon used is named “Enhanced North American Benchmark Lexicon (ENABLE)”. Ir should be renamed as “Enhanced U.S. American Benchmark Lexicon (ENABLE)”, I am sure the Canadians have no use for it.

  24. pmshah October 22, 2014 at 1:42 am #

    I can’t believe this. A universally used word like “slut” is not acceptable ? At this rate I am likely to lose half my vocabulary !

  25. San December 5, 2014 at 11:43 pm #

    When you’re married you must play together

  26. LSutt December 8, 2014 at 8:41 pm #

    I have several players that have been waiting4-5 days without playing. Do they ever get eliminated from the list?

  27. Ursula January 13, 2015 at 12:58 pm #

    What happens when opponents will not finish a game they are losing? If they just leave the game hang there and don’t respond to a Nudge? Will they automatically be Resigned after a certain number of days?

  28. Mary Hetherington January 24, 2015 at 4:50 am #

    How many games can one play at once?

  29. Edward January 25, 2015 at 1:01 pm #

    Is there a limit to how many times one may “swap” tiles or “skip a turn”? What happens if those limits are met/exceeded?

  30. Pat Colbert April 6, 2015 at 1:42 am #

    I tried to play the word ZEUS and was not able to do so “not an acceptable word”. What’s with that, who determines what is acceptable? I’m sure you’ve heard it all before but that really seems very restrictive and very censorship. So if I don’t care for that, don’t play, right? What is the criteria for determining what is “not acceptable”?

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