10 Different Types of Word Puzzles – Do You Know Them All?

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Are you wondering about different types of word puzzles? I'll bet there are a bunch more than you think. In this article, we'll list out 10 and a bit about each one.

word puzzle with pen

Here's a quick summary of the 10 along with the types of books/board games you can buy to start playing right away:

ImageProductWhere to Buy
Large Print Word-Finds Puzzle Book-Word Search Volume 329Word Search

  • Specific words in a jumble of letters
  • Letters laid out in tradtional grid
  • View on Amazon
    Simon & Schuster Mega Crossword Puzzle Book #18 (18) (S&S Mega Crossword Puzzles)Crossword

  • Fill in empty squares with letters
  • Words all connect with other words
  • View on Amazon
    Best of Mad LibsSemantics

  • Involve a group of people working together
  • Focuses on the semantics of words rather than spelling
  • View on Amazon
    MengTing Alphabet Letter Word Spelling Game Spell Words Board Game for Kids Preschoolers Learning Great Educational Play SetSpelling

  • Great option for adults to compete with children
  • Ideal for learners of English as a foreign language
  • View on Amazon
    Matching Letter Game,Letter Spelling and Learning Game for Preschool Kindergarten Letter Picture Word Matching Game, Educational Word Games for KidsMatching

  • People competing simply match words and letters
  • Typically hands-on
  • View on Amazon

    Letter Arrangement

    Scrabble Game

    The goal of this type of word puzzle is to try to spell or form a word using the letters that you are given.

    There are a number of different types of this game, with every game having the same end goal of trying to create as many correct words as possible.

    Each player will be given set letters and will have to use them to create words, generally on a grid, and usually intersecting with other letters and words that have already been played.

    This is a great way to test not only spelling, but also vocabulary skills and even lateral thinking skills.

    As players place more and more letters on the board, these games tend to become much more difficult, as there are fewer spaces that are left for players to play their letters.

    Any letters that can’t be used can often be replaced with new letters, although this will generally cost a turn.


    Word Search

    Large Print Word-Finds Puzzle Book-Word Search Volume 329

    Word search puzzles require players to try to find specific words in a jumble of other letters.

    The letters are usually laid out in a traditional grid, with letters neatly in rows and columns, which allows players to quickly and easily find the words they are looking for.

    Generally speaking, players can look horizontally, vertically, and diagonally when searching for words. Words can be written forwards and backwards, which can make these puzzles difficult.

    There are some types of word search puzzles where the user is able to make turns when circling a word, which means that they don’t have to try to stay in a straight line. This can make it easier for some users to find the word that they are looking for, but can also make the puzzle much more difficult for others.

    These puzzles come in a variety of skill levels for adults and children.


    Crossword

    Simon & Schuster Mega Crossword Puzzle Book #18 (18) (S&S Mega Crossword Puzzles)

    Crosswords are word puzzles where the user must fill in empty squares with the letters of a word that fits the listed clue.

    Puzzlers must not only be able to come up with the answer to the problem off the top of their head, but also must be able to spell the word correctly, which can be difficult for some players.

    The words all connect with other words in the puzzle, which can make it a bit easier for players to figure out the correct answer.

    In addition to having blank spaces for the words and letters to be written on the sheet, these puzzles also have blacked out squares, which serve to separate words and are used to fill in empty spots on the puzzle.

    These puzzles generally have a theme and come in a wide variety of difficulty levels. Understanding the theme and choosing the correct difficulty level makes them more fun.


    Semantics

    Best of Mad Libs

    These puzzles, or games, focus more on the semantics of words than the spelling of words, and often involve a group of people working together, rather than a single person working on their own.

    These puzzles can vary widely in the theme and how they are played. Some puzzles require players to be able to come up with certain parts of speech to fill out a humorous story or anecdote.

    Other types of these word puzzles rely on players having shared knowledge to win. These games will often require players to know different meanings of words, how they can be grouped together, and features that will set them apart from other words on the list.

    Because they are generally played by more than one person, these games tend to be much more involved and often get noisier, making them a fun option for parties and for events.


    Spelling

    MengTing Alphabet Letter Word Spelling Game Spell Words Board Game for Kids Preschoolers Learning Great Educational Play Set

    Spelling word puzzles are a great option for adults to complete with children, as they all require children to work on their spelling skills and also provide a wonderful opportunity for children to learn more about definitions and vocabulary.

    These games are also ideal for older players and adults who are learning English as a second language or who may struggle with memory loss, as they are generally easier than other word puzzles, fun to play, and have bright and colorful pictures that make them very inviting.

    These spelling puzzles focus on smaller words, which means that they are not ideal for players who are greatly improving their spelling and able to easily spell larger words.

    Because they can easily be grown out of as the person using them improves their spelling, these are often used in school settings or then donated to younger children who can benefit from this type of puzzle.


    Matching

    Matching Letter Game,Letter Spelling and Learning Game for Preschool Kindergarten Letter Picture Word Matching Game, Educational Word Games for Kids

    Matching puzzles take away the stress of having to come up with a certain word on your own and allow people completing these puzzles to simply match words or letters to each other to form words.

    They are typically hands-on and require the person completing the puzzle to handle blocks or other items in an attempt to create a specific word.

    Because they engage more of the senses, these are a great way for players to learn certain words and to work on their spelling.

    They are commonly used with younger children who need help seeing how words can match and making their own words, but are ideal for memory loss patients, as well, who need extra practice without feeling the stress of getting the answers wrong.

    These puzzles are generally fun and easy, making them a great option for a low-stress learning tool for users of all ages.


    Anagram

    Anagram Puzzles

    These word puzzles consist of a word or a phrase that can then be rearranged to form a completely different word or phrase.

    All of the letters in the original word or phrase can only be used once in the answer.

    The original word or phrase is called the subject, while any word or phrase that reproduces all of the letters is known as the anagram.

    These can often be used as a commentary on the original subject or can even be made to create an anagram that is the opposite.

    This is a form of word play or word puzzles that is best suited to people who have a strong command of the language and who are able to visualize the way that words and letters move and work together.

    Because they involve a higher level of thinking and don’t require a game or components, anagrams are a wonderful way for adults to pass the time when they are unable to entertain themselves in other ways.


    Jumbled

    Jumble® Mania: A Collection for Passionate Puzzlers (Jumbles®)

    These word puzzles vary from others because all of the letters are given to the person completing the puzzle, but none of them are in the correct order to spell a word.

    Puzzlers must try to rearrange the letters to make a word that is spelled correctly.

    Often, there are certain letters of the words that are then combined and rearranged to answer a specific question that was asked about the puzzle.

    Getting any of the original words incorrect when trying to solve this puzzle will make it impossible to answer the original question, as only certain letters of the answers will be used.

    These puzzles tend to be very involved and often take a while to complete, especially when there are a lot of letters that are required for use for the final puzzle.

    There is sometimes an accompanying picture to help users better understand and solve the puzzle.


    Ambigram

    Wordplay: The Philosophy, Art, and Science of Ambigrams

    These puzzles consist of a word, symbolic representation, or piece of art that can be viewed in different ways and interpreted according to how it is viewed.

    They are generally an exercise not only in thought and determining the word that is represented, but also in trying to read the word from a variety of different angles to see how many ways it can be read.

    There are no universal ways to create ambigrams, although there are a few different ways that the problems can be approached.

    Many times people turn to computers to create ambigrams, although the first ones were obviously created by hand. These still remain some of the most popular ambigrams available.

    It’s only by viewing the ambigram from a variety of different angles that users can uncover the true meaning of the puzzle and determine what it says.


    Rebus

    1001 Word Rebuses

    These are puzzles where a specific word is represented through the use of illustrated pictures. Individual letters, phrases, or words can all be represented by these pictures.

    While these small pictures were originally used as part of stories and were used for illustrative purposes, rebuses are now considered a word puzzle and require word play to understand and to determine their true meaning.

    They can be made up completely of letters, and are then known as gramograms. Others can include numbers and are a great way to fit letters or a symbol into a single square in a crossword puzzle.

    Reading the rebus requires puzzlers to not only take it at face value in some cases, but also to see it as a puzzle that needs to be solved, as some rebuses are a play on words. These can be very difficult and are often used as brain teasers in school settings.