How to Play Hangman

By Richard Teahon

Hangman is a word game based on trying to work out a hidden word before the player guessing the word is hung from the gallows!  It is a game for two players.

To play hangman you will need:

A Pen/Pencil




The Rules

One player thinks of a word, and writes down dashes for each letter of the word.  So the word “Computer”, would be _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _.  Note the number of dashes corresponds to the number of letters in the word.

The second player now tries to guess a letter of the word.  So should they guess “O”, the other player than inserts where that letter would go.  _ O _ _ _ _ _ _.  If the player had guessed incorrectly, say “Y”, then the other player would draw the first part of the gallows, and write down the letter “Y”, so the other player knows that is not part of the word.  This continues until either the word is guessed or the other player is hung!


In our example, the word is “Animal”.  So:

Guess 1 “B”

Incorrect, fist line is drawn


Letters guessed B





Guess 2 “F”

Incorrect, second line of the gallows is drawn!

Letters guessed B,F







Guess 3 “A”

Correct, the letters “A” are inserted into the word.


Letters guessed B,F






Guess 4 “E”

Incorrect, the roof on the gallows is drawn.



Letters guessed B,F,E





Guess 5 “M”

Correct, a good guess



Letters guessed B,F,E,





Guess 6 “C”,




Letters guessed B,F,E,C,





Guess 7 “D”



Letters guessed B,F,E,C,D





Guess 8 “I”




Letters guessed B,F,E,C,D





Guess 9 “G”




Letters guessed B,F,E,C,D,G





Guess 10 “P”




Letters guessed B,F,E,C,D,G,P





Guess 11 “K”




Letters guessed B,F,E,C,D,G,P,K





Guess 12 “L”

Correct, maybe they wont be executed!  Just one letter to get.



Letters guessed B,F,E,C,D,G,P,K





Guess 13 “Q”

Incorrect, oh no, one more wrong guess and it is curtains!



Letters guessed B,F,E,C,D,G,P,K,Q





Guess 14 “Y”

Incorrect, oh no they have been hung!



Letters guessed B,F,E,C,D,G,P,K,Q,Y





Winning and Losing

As the guessing player did not discover the hidden word, he or she has been hung and subsequently lost the game.  Had the player discovered the word before the last line was drawn they would have won.


The most commonly used letters that comprise words in the English language are, e-t-a-o-i-n-s-h-r-d-l-u.  If you are the guessing player try guessing these letters first.  If you are thinking of the word, then try and use words that do not use them too much, or try a very short word that uses unusual letters, such as “Jazz”.

Hangman, the other meaning!

A Hangman was an executioner appointed by The State, (The leader of a country) to carry out executions on its behalf.  Mostly, the executions were performed as a  punishment for a crime, but it has also been used in other ways too.  None of which were very nice.  Execution is still performed in some countries.

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