words -- find words which can be made from a string of letters


words [-w wordlist] minimum-length letters [letters ...]


words prints all the uncapitalized words, of at least the minimum length, that can be made from a string of letters. Each letter can appear in a word once for each time it appears in the string. Several strings of letters can be given; a separate list of words will be printed for each string. A string may contain non-letter characters, which will be ignored.

For efficiency, words uses an index of the wordlist file, generated by the wordidx program. The index file should have the same name as the wordlist file, with .idx appended. words will output a warning and proceed without the index if the index file is not found, if the index file is older than the wordlist file, or if the index file cannot be opened.


words accepts the following options:

-w wordlist
By default, words looks for a word-file named 'wordlist' in the same directory as the executable. Use the -w option to specify the path to an alternate word list.


The list of words, found with the executable.

For a comprehensive word list, the author recommends the ENABLE word list, with more than 172,000 words, which can be found at

An index of the list of words, found with the wordlist file. The index improves efficiency by allowing words to skip large sections of the wordlist file. The index file is generated by wordidx.




words has no known bugs.


words was written by Ronald J Kimball,


This program is copyright 2000 by Ronald J Kimball.

This program is free and open software. You may use, modify, or distribute this program (and any modified variants) in any way you wish, provided you do not restrict others from doing the same.