Word Search Puzzles

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Word Search Puzzle Home Add a Word List My Word Lists Others' Word Lists
Home Add Words My Words Others' Words
Welcome to our award winning word search puzzle site. Make your own word list using 'My Words' in the navigation bar (above), or search our themes such as holidays and word lists of other users. Puzzles can be customized to your preferences using Puzzle Controls (left) including their theme, shape, difficulty, size, and appearance. Here's a description of each control:

Navigation Bar

  • Home. Returns you to this page.

  • Add Words. Allows you to specify a theme, then add words consistent with that theme. Then, you will be able to make any number of word search puzzles from your newly created, theme-based word list.

  • My Words. Takes you to a collection of all the words lists you've created and allows you to search, copy, or edit them. If you haven't used "Add Words" yet or copied another user's list, this section will return zero query results.

  • Others' Words. Allows you to search and browse word lists of other users which you may also copy into lists of your own then edit to suit your unique puzzle-making needs.

Puzzle Controls

  • Theme. Themes are intended for general appeal to an English audience since most of our users are N. American. So, they include holidays like:

    We also did an EPA word search puzzle built using terminology common to environmental protection activity. If none strike your fancy, enter theme-based words separated by commas to make your own lists. Different languages may be entered to make French word search puzzles, Spanish, Russian, or almost whatever you like although we haven't tested it yet for Asian languages.

  • Shape. Only a rectangular ("orthogonal") shape is currently offered. If many users request it, we may do a circular puzzle.

  • Difficulty. Attempt anything from easy puzzles to the more challenging OMG level. Easy word searches restrict word orientation to horizontal and vertical; none diagonal or backwards. Medium include diagonal. Hard add in backward words. OMG have words in any direction and tends toward higher word length. Because more directions are allowed, word density (the number of words stuffed into a puzzle) increases with difficulty.

  • Grid. Properties include height, width, presence of grid lines, block color, and color pattern. To make sure there's enough space to fit the puzzle on a page, its width may be automatically reduced if the font size is large. Many colors are available, but only select those that are supported by your web browser. Patterns include columns, rows, or checkered. Many users enjoy theme-appropriate colors. For example, Halloween word search puzzles might have an orange and yellow checkered background. Christmas word searches often use columns of red and lime green making them appear somewhat like wrapped presents. Actually, you could print an entire word search puzzle book and give it as a gift. Popular colors for Earth Day puzzles are sky blue and spring green. However, if you want a puzzle with a solid background, select the same color for Color 1 and Color 2. If you want a colorless puzzle grid, select white for both Color 1 and Color 2.

  • Font. The "face" or style of the letters and size may be defined. Similar to color selection, try making the puzzle's font face theme-appropriate. Chiller makes a good Halloween puzzle. Porky's goes well with kids puzzles. Remember, some fonts are naturally small. Others are naturally large. So, size them in a legible manner. And, only select font faces that are supported by your computer. Otherwise, puzzle letters and the word list will most likely appear in your browser's default font. Arial is probably the most widely supported.

  • Make Puzzle. After specifying puzzle criteria, click "Make Puzzle", then print. Some internet browsers will only print black and white even though the puzzle background has colors. To maintain the colors, do a screen shot, paste into a graphics program like Microsoft Paint, crop what you don't want, and print from there. Find each word from the list. Circle words discoverd in the puzzle grid and cross them off the list.

Terms of Service (TOS)

Our puzzles are copyrighted and free for personal use only. Please do not sell them. Or if you do, cut us in. Also, because users can enter their own word lists, we can not be responsible for any consequences or damages associated with user-generated word searches others may find offensive. However, all words entered become the property of merschat.com to use as we wish. Word lists are generally made available for public use.

Word Search Trivia

Read below to learn more about word search puzzles including their history, game play rules, uses, misspellings, and our terms of use.

  • History.1 We don't find much about the history of word search puzzles, but similar puzzle games seem to have first emerged in England around 1860. Two main differences existed between these early word-find puzzles and the modern form: source and structure. Source material was a short piece of inspirational writing or poem which players could carry in their minds through the day. Word continuity was maintained in the puzzle with one word appearing after another in the same order as the originating proverb. Structurally, words tended to go in the same vertical or horizontal direction without overlapping creating a sort of word mazes. Other phrase-based variations make each letter follow the pattern which a knight moves in chess. As such, the games were appropriately named, "Word Chess", "Knight's Tour Letter Puzzles", or "Knight's Tour Crypts". If users request, we may launch word games of this logic. Many may claim to have fathered the first modern word search puzzle consisting of a letter grid and word list. Pedro Ocon de Oro invented one he called "Soup of Letters" around 1960. Norman Gibat seems to be the first English word search generator. In 1968, he created a 20x20 puzzle of city names appearing in each direction and with overlapping letters. Teachers then began using word search puzzles to encourages learning. Other word searches also made use of remaining letters which themselves formed a hidden word. Word search popularity continued with puzzles appearing in many forms including puzzle books, menus, magazines, newspapers, cell phone applications, computer games, and online in many web sites. Some use javascript or other programming making interactive puzzles. However, in spite of exploding word game popularity, word search puzzles usually appear in English or Latin / Roman languages. Spanish play Sopa de Letras, Swedish enjoy Sokord, Germans like Worterraten, French solve Mots Caches, Dutch decipher Woordzoeker, and in Finland you'll find Sanaverkko. We don't see much presence in Asian languages.

  • Rules. So, how are word search puzzles solved? Usually a list of words is given. That's your starting point and the trick is to find them all. Each word may appear vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. Words may also be either forward or backward in each of these directions. And they may overlap. Some words may be completely contained by another. As you find each word in the puzzle grid, just draw a circle around it. Some players like to draw a line through discovered words, but this makes the letters harder to read and more difficult to solve if that letter belongs to another word. Some players take pride in finding words that aren't even listed. Maybe they think of these as extra credit, especially if unlisted words belong to the puzzle's theme. considering that, it may be more difficult but still possible to find all of the words even if the word list wasn't provided. Another alternative would be a list of clues for each word. Anyway, our site is pretty easy to use. Just opening the home page itself is sufficient to generate a random word search puzzle. If you like it, just print and play.

  • Uses. Word search puzzles help avoid boredom and are commonly played while traveling or waiting. This is why many still prefer printable puzzles over online word searches. Unravel scrambled words during long plane flights, bus rides, road trips, or even while waiting for a meal in a restaurant. Plus, it's nice to give your eyes a break from the computer screen. Print and play them during your lunch break from work or while relaxing at home. Puzzles can also be fun educational tools for kids and adults. Teachers know any way to make a new subject or vocabulary list fun facilitates learning.

  • Misspellings. Players sometimes flip the "l" and "e" in puzzle accidentally searching for puzzel instead, or the phrases word puzzels, puzzel word, or search puzzels.

  1. Denise Sutherland. Word Searches for Dummies. Wiley Publishing, Inc., NJ. 2009. Pages 14-15.