Think of a secret word hunt as a linguistic game of battleship. You guess words and get feedback about how close they are to the day’s secret word.
The day’s secret word is #1, with word #2 being the closest to it. Rankings descend to >100,000 as words are increasingly distant from the day’s word.
In layman-speak, “close” means the words often occur in similar contexts or meanings. More technically, proximity rankings are based on a 300-vector semantic analysis of how three million distinct words appear in a portion of the Google News dataset (100 billion word corpus!) as analyzed by Google’s Word2Vec algorithm and represented by David Turner with modifications by Racery’s software team.
Antonyms like Republican and Democrat often have similar proximity because of the parallel semantic role each plays in the corpus. Note in the example below how “imperfect” and “wonderful” and “sloppy” all are at approximately the same distance from the day’s secret word, which turns out to be “easy.”
Don’t get to obsessed by the science. It’s easiest to just start your secret word hunt by making some guesses. Or you can read some strategies for solving a secret word game. After a new secret word loads at 7pm EST daily, you have 24 hours to home in on the word based on the proximity rankings of your various guesses.