The Hardest Word to Guess in Hangman

It’s a rainy day in the 1500s and the King’s Justice slides a noose around your neck. He tightens it, steps around the wobbly stool beneath your feet and looks you square in the eye. “I’m thinking of a four-letter word,” he grunts. “If you can guess it in 10 tries, I’ll let you go free.” Ah….the classic game of Hangman. Fortunately for most of us, the game doesn’t have such high stakes. What word should you pick to give your opponent the lowest odds of victory? Believe it or not, there’s one word that’s the hardest to guess. Mathematician Jon McLoone is a professional numbers whiz, and in 2010 he decided to figure out what word would be the hardest to guess. Nearly 5 million games of Hangman later, he had the word…….”jazz.” No matter how many guesses the computer was allowed, jazz reigned supreme. Composed of 75% uncommon letters (J and Z) and allowing only three chances at picking correctly, jazz is all about the notes they don’t play…..and in the game of hangman, winning is all about the letters they don’t pick.