The Best Words to Use Playing Hangman

The best Hangman words
If you’re looking to kill a little time using nothing but a pen and paper to entertain yourself and a friend, you have several options. One is the tried and true word game “Hangman.” In the unlikely event that you didn’t learn this game years ago, here’s how it’s played.

One player chooses a word and draws a series of dashes for each letter in the word. The other player tries to guess which letters are used in the word, and the first player fills them in with each correct guess. If a guess is wrong, the iconic image of the stick man hanging from a gallows begins to appear stroke by stroke. Rules on how the hanged man is drawn vary, but this generally allows for a maximum of 10 wrong guesses.

Do you want to defeat your friends at Hangman? Choosing words that are difficult to guess gives you the edge. According to veteran players, the ones listed below are some of the most difficult.


It only has four letters, but it’s as tough as nails to guess. The reason why this one is so hard is that it includes two of the letters least used in the English language, namely J and Z. Be hated and feared by choosing this tough nut.


This word makes use of the same strategy, and if your friends start to see a pattern, they’ll begin by choosing a Z ending just to see if you’re still up to your tricks. Choose a few easy words before you use this one!


By now, your friend is ready to throw their pencil at you and march off in a huff. Remind them that it’s just a game, while you secretly smirk at your own sneakiness in finding out which words are trickiest because you love to win at absolutely everything. By the way, “jazzing” is also a good choice as is “buzzing” and “buzzes.”

Words with Double Zees

Use your double zee words sparingly, and you can add “fizz”, “fuzz” and “dizzy” to your list, choosing as many permutations as your evil little mind can dream up. But you need more than just zees to make you a winner.


As hangman word choices go, this one is absolutely brutal. Its success lies in the double J ending and the fact that unless your hangman partner is savvy about Muslim culture, he or she probably wouldn’t know how to spell it. Unfortunately, there aren’t any other words with a double J ending, so that’s as far as you can go with this one.

Words with a Double F

“Faff,” “duff,” “buff,” and “puff” are words that will expand your strategy of choosing rarely-used and seldom-guessed letters. Once again, feel free to add plurals, put verbs in the past tense, and so on.

Words Containing the Letter X

Do you sigh every time you pick the letter X when playing Scrabble? Turn it into your hangman friend with words like “jinx,” “vex,” and “fox.” Other words with X in them such as “six” may be too easy because they’re frequently used words, so stick with the more obscure choices.

Obscure Words with Unusual Letters

Put the double whammy on your opponents with unusual words that also contain less common letters of the alphabet. Below are a few examples you can place into your Hangman arsenal:

  • Quetzalcoatl
  • Sequoia
  • Asexual
  • Livid
  • Chthonic
  • Zwieback
  • Phylum

Words People Struggle to Spell

If you’d like a whole arsenal of nasty hangman words to make your friends hate you, look no further than words people often misspell. Even if they get several letters right, they may not get the correct answer.

Words with Y as a Semi-Vowel

Most people go into a Hangman game assuming there will be a vowel in the word you’ve chosen. You can use this assumption to your advantage by choosing words that use the letter Y in place of a vowel. “Gypsy” and “rhythm” are both words that will likely frustrate your opponent to no end. You can also try pushing your luck with words like “hmm,” but it really is taking a bit of a chance, and you may just be accused of cheating.

Words Ending in the Letter Q

Choosing words that contain the letter Q will make guessing the word more difficult, but if you really want to take it up a level, pick a word that ends in the letter Q. Warning: if you decide to do this, the person you play with will likely start throwing random objects at you.


I’ve left the most annoying choice for last, and if you use this one, you had better have on your running shoes. By now, your friend is already questioning whether he or she wants to remain your friend. This is a good one to use when you’re ready to finish the game since nobody will want to play with you after you use this word.

(Photo courtesy of frankieleon)

  • I always used myth and rhythm quite a bit with good success. I guess this means I need to add gypsy to my go to words as well. Jazz is just brutal…

    • Jalopy is also a good hangman word. People rarely forgive me when I use it. If I have the ones you mentioned above, nobody is ever going to play the game with me again.

  • Haha. I never knew that people took hangmen so seriously. These words are just cruel. There’s no way the average person is ever going to guess them. I always thought the part of the fun of hangmen was having a word that a person should guess, but it’s difficult. Not impossible, just difficult.

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