The query provides multiple options on one screen like the combination search, except that you define the searches by adding criteria lines. This is similar to the primary search in Zyzzyva and possibly other search engines. After adding a criteria line, users select the search to use from the dropdown box for Search Type. Based on the search option selected, parameters will be requested. Hoot uses the results from the earlier lines as input to newer lines.

If the lexicon in use is not fully indexed, some searches with many criteria and long lists may be slow. As in Zyzzyva, some searches may be so time-consuming that it would appear that Hoot is locked up. This is common with multiple criteria returning large lists of results. When that happens, simply close the application, restart it and try narrower search criteria. To speed up searches, narrow down results in first criteria. You might also find that combination searches may be faster and more intuitive.

List Format

The Query list results are displayed with eight columns:


Unlike other searches that allow you to sort using a button on the ribbon, in Query you can sort by a column by simply clicking on the column header. Hoot normally returns results and sorts by length first, then alphabetically. Clicking on the Word column sorts alphabetically. To re-sort based on length/then alpha, use the Normal sort button on the ribbon.

You can widen or narrow the columns depending on the length of words, hooks, etc. Also, double-clicking between two headers will expand or compress the left column to the widest item or heading in the list. You can also rearrange the columns displayed by dragging the column header to the desired column. I am working on a playability option that is based on the ABILITY to PLAY a word on the board, not valuableness, but testing and processing such a list is very time-consuming. There are a couple of hidden columns that I use to facilitate sorting and searches.

Join Types

Unlike the Zyzzyva search, there is no NOT option. Instead, Hoot allows one of three join types. The WHERE is the normal join type. Each line finds words that are in the previous line's results. The EXCEPT is the same as the NOT in Zyzzyva. An EXCEPT line will take away words that are in the previous line's results. In order to find words with a Q and no U, you might use the following.

WHERE Contains Letter: Q
EXCEPT Contains Letter: U

A third join type is the PLUS. This search returns new results and adds them to the previous search results.

Search Types

The Query has all the search types that are in the Combination search, and adds a few that are needed to accommodate the different join types.


The first line defaults to the Where join type, and has an additional search option, ALL. All represents all words in the Lexicon and can be used to search for words using the Except option on the second. For example, you can search for all words in the current lexicon (i.e. WJ2), except for words in the TWL98 lexicon. This shows the new words you may need to learn. You can also add a line that filters by word length. WJ2 includes words up to 21 characters long.

In Lexicon

In Lexicon finds all words in the current lexicon that are also in the selected lexicon. This may be most used to search words in the current lexicon that are not in the selected lexicon as in the previous illustration.

In List

Finds words in one of the subject lists.


Pattern searches is a powerful and complicated option that is discussed on the Pattern page. Many popular searches can be executed using the Pattern search.


Pattern will find words that can be played parallel to the term entered. In the results the inner hooks are replaced with symbols next to the word, showing whether playable on one side or the other, or both.


Letter Count

Letter count will bring in all words that are the selected length. This is useful for beginners studying 2, 3, or 4 letter words. For longer lists, you can select the filter option to only show words from this list that begin with a certain letter, such as all 4-letter words beginning with J.

Between Lengths

The lengths option returns words between two selected lengths.

Contains Letters

Contains Letters is used to display words that contain at least one of the letters in the search box. If you are studying all of the words containing Q or X, you enter those letters in the search box. For words containing words with both Q and X, use the Anagrams search screen, or patterns. This might also be called the "Contains any letter" search.

Contains All Letters

This search finds words that contains ALL of the letters in the search and then some. This is the equivalent of getting anagrams and including question marks in the search. This is also referred to as superanagrams. If you consider the previous query for words that contain both Q and X, if you enter QX in the search box and search for words up to 6-letters long you would get the one word that meets that criteria, EXEQUY. This option is also useful when studying stems.

Begins With

This option allows you to search for words with the selected beginning. The combo box is populated with common prefixes, but you can enter any letter or combination or letters in the box. When a prefix is selected or entered, it becomes the search term.

Ends With

This option allows you to search for words with the selected beginning. The combo box is populated with common prefixes, but you can enter any letter or combination or letters in the box.

Alternate Ending

This option finds words with one ending that also take an alternate ending. For example, an alternate ending of Y is IER.
The results return the shorter word, but the display shows both words together if this is the final criteria. The hook display is also modified to show the alternate.

Takes Prefix/Suffix

Unlike the Begins With and Ends With option, Takes Prefix (Suffix) finds words that can be prefixed (suffixed) by the selected prefix (suffix). With Begins With, some words beginning with a certain prefix may not be words on their own.


An anagram is a word that contains all of the same letters, but in a different order. This is also called the "Contains all letters" option in some other software, but is best known as anagrams. Many players learn to recognize anagrams on their rack and learn to find alternate plays based on the state of the board. They are particularly useful in playing bingos. Many words do not have anagrams and players often rely on playing a limited number of tiles from their rack, or adding letters from the board to form words. Subanagrams, suberanagrams, and blank anagrams are useful for that.


A subanagram is a word that contains only some of the letters in the search box, but NO OTHER letters. The search tracks the number of letters. If the search word has only one S, it won't return words with two S's. A subanagram search for WISE will not return SEWS. Specify the length of the words you want returned. Obviously, it can't be more than the number of letters in the search box.


A superanagram is a word that contains ALL of the letters in the search and then some. This is the same as the "Contains All letters" option. Again, it should be obvious that the maximum number of letters has to be more than the word length. This is the equivalent of getting anagrams and including question marks in the search. If you consider the previous query for words that contain both Q and X, if you enter QX in the search box and search for Super Anagrams up to 6-letters long you would get the one word that meets that criteria, EXEQUY. This option is also particularly useful when studying stems.


Hooks have two meanings in practice. It can be a letter that you add to an existing word to form a new word, although some also refer to the new word as a hook. The hooked letter can either be at the beginning or the end of the existing word. For example the word ION has four hooks and the results will list the words CION, LION, PION, IONS, while one of the most hookable words is AT, with 19 hooks. Although hooks are useful for a player to know, this screen may not be that useful. You can see the hook letters for a word in the Front Hooks and Back Hooks columns.

Anagram Hooks

Anagram hooks are a combination of an anagram and a hook. They are formed by rearranging the letters in the search and then adding a letter at the front or end. The word entered must be valid or have a valid anagram to be considered in Anagram Hooks. If there are no valid anagrams, it will not show any anagram hooks. For example, searching for SEND will show 13 anagram hooks. SEND has only one simple hook, SENDS. However, although CAI has two hooks, CAID and CAIN, it has no anagram hooks because CAI is not valid and does not have a valid anagram.

Has No Hooks

Has No Hooks limits the list to words that do not have hooks. Ideally, you would include other parameters before finding words with no hooks.


Extensions lets you find words that contain the word you selected, by either adding letters to the front, back, or both. This is handy for finding words you can create by extending the words on the board. This can be useful for extending high scoring words, or extending to a TW square. For example, entering QI you can find 9 words that contain it. For QUA, there are 728 words that can be formed by adding letters to it.


Subwords allows you to do just the opposite of Extensions, search for words within the word you enter. Letters are not rearranged.

Blank Anagrams

Blank anagrams is a shortcut to search for superanagrams with only one additional letter. It's as if you included an additional blank in the search term. This is a useful tool for studying individual stems. A stem is a word that you can add a letter to, rearrange, and form several other words. Entering TISANE, and choosing 7-letter Super Anagrams, you would get the 67 7-letter words (TWL98) that can be formed.

Serious students may also find the Stems screen useful for studying common bingos. With that option and the slide show, you can study several collections of the most common stems and their blank anagram bingos.

The term blank anagram has at least two meanings. In Hoot, a blank anagram in an anagram of several letters plus a blank. Stem study is based on this study method. Take TISANE and a blank and show all the words that can be made from it. This is not to be confused with Zyzzyva's interpretation of a blank anagram, which takes several letters and finds all the words that can be made by changing one of those letters into a blank.


A transposition is a word that has two letters transposed. A common example is the word STRONGLY, STRONGYL.


Misspells are called Cousins in french word study and blank matches in Zyzzyva. Misspells are words that can be formed by replacing one of the letters in a word with another letter. Some Misspells of the word WILD are GILD, MILD, WIND, and WOLD.


Conjugate is an option for french study that shows a conjugation of a regular french word. Hoot only attempts to translate ER, IR, and RE verbs.

Compound Words


Compound words returns a list of words made from two other words. Unlike the Combination Search option, you can specify the joining word lengths. For example, you may choose to display words made of a three letter word and a seven letter word (3+7. Hoot returns words that are formed from the two words. If you also want words that are formed from seven+three letter words, you can add that criteria and select the Plus join option. Just remember that the search is for 10 letter words.

Three in One

Three in One searches are like compound words except that words are made up of three other words of the same length. Searching for 15 letter words shows words that can be formed by three five letter words.

Compound Anagram

A Compound Anagram is a word made from the entry term and the anagram of another valid word. The search is time-consuming so there is an option for the length of the final word. One of many compounds of the word WAIT is


Joins (previously Inserts)

The search for joins will find long words that consist of two other words with your term joining them to form a new word. For example, a search for WAIT as an join will show you



The search for stretchs will show words that have a letter added to the inside of the word to form a new word. Some have suggested that this be called a mid-hook.



Probability searches for words with a minimum probability rating. Entering 80 will find words with probability between 80 and 100.

Optimum Playability

This search finds words with at least the optimum playability entered.

In Definition

Searches for text in the definition of a word.


There is no filter option as in the Combination search. The filter there limits the list to words that can be played with the letters entered. You can activate that same functionality by adding a new criteria, selecting Subanagrams and entering the letters on your rack, and on the board if applicable.

Search Term

The search term includes the letters or word you are doing the search on. With most search options you have the freedom to include a '?' in the search word to match words with an additional letter. The '?' could represent a blank you have, or anticipate playing with a tile on the board. In pattern searches acceptable characters in the search term are expanded considerably and have special meaning. See Patterns for a more comprehensive list of acceptable characters used in a pattern search. A few searches don't require a search term, such as letter count and compound words.

The '?' or blank is a building block for anagramming, particularyl searching for superanagrams, and blank anagrams. For example, the anagram for TISANE? would be the same as selecting TISANE and Superanagrams that are 7 letters long. You could also use blanks to find all four letter words that contain a Q by entering Q???. In the case of subanagrams, including a '?' is one way to show blank matches, matches that include a substitute letter in the search term. WISE? will return SITE, which matches all letters except the 'W'.


You can also open a search in a separate (Popup) window showing only the list which will respond to the options from the ribbon. See the Context menu page for a complete description of options available from the context menu. The save/list options are not yet available in the Query search.