To link "blanket" and "Arctic", "cold" could be a clue because the Arctic has subzero temperatures and a blanket is something you put on if you are cold at night. Saying "cold" with an extension of the sound in your tone like "colddd" could help your guesser hit "blanket" better because it gives the clue that cold can be an expression of someone who is cold.

Other examples include sounding out "ding" to "dingggg" if you want to hit "dent" but also "bell" and "phone" better since it might suggest to look for clues that sound like ding.

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    Only some of the consonants in the english language have pronounciations that can be extended, and 'D' & 'G' are not amongst them :) I don't know what you intended by "colddd" and "dingggg" but I'm reasonably confident that what you've written isn't it.
    – Brondahl
    Jun 30, 2020 at 14:04
  • (For reference, I believe only these consonants can reasonably be extended: 'f', 'l', 'm', 'n', 'r', 's', 'v', 'w', 'y', 'z')
    – Brondahl
    Jun 30, 2020 at 14:07
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    @Brondahl I think it's clear the OP means cold-d-d-d (stuttering to repeat the final sound) and ding-g-g-g, aka dinginginging (simulating the resonance/echo of a bell). Or similar, anyway. Codenames's clues being spoken, not written, means the actual translation of these to written form shouldn't be the focus, though. Jun 30, 2020 at 14:38
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    @Brondahl In IPA, "dingggg" would be /dɪŋː/, as there isn't actually a /g/ in "ding". I think that "colddd" refers to intensifying the aspiration on /dʰ/. In any case, it's about non-standard emphasis rather than the particular way that emphasis plays out. Jun 30, 2020 at 14:38
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    I don't really see that this adds anything to the clue, to be honest. I wouldn't be any more or less likely to guess blanket with either pronunciation.
    – Kevin
    Jun 30, 2020 at 16:46

4 Answers 4


I gave a similar answer to a different question here But this is a different question with almost the same answer.

The rules here say


So if the word is a legal clue then there is nothing in the rule to say you can't use a certain voice. I guess the balance is you couldn't use Western Film accent to say "Paris" to give a clue for "Cowboy" and "France".

Also its worth looking at the rules for Homonyms which say (emphasis mine).

Some people prefer to allow a more liberal use of homonyms. You can allow knight to be a clue for night-related things if that makes the game more fun for you.

You can apply that rule to making sounds with you clues. Would saying "colddd" make the make more fun for your group? If so then yes it would be fine.

In general if you're not sure if a clue is legal ask your self, Do the rules specially say you're not allowed to do it? If the answer is no, and your group are having fun then the clue is almost certainly fine.

  • I guess the one thing to watch for is that if you're designing a whole language which you convey via vocal ticks, then rather like blinking at your partner in Bridge, you're no longer playing the game you're supposed to be playing. Jul 2, 2020 at 5:21

It looks like this could reasonably be considered to violate either the rule that the word must be in English ("colddd" is not in any dictionary of the English language) or the rule that your clue must be "only one word" without any additional hints.

That is: it's not "only one English word without any additional hints". With the extra information you're attempting to convey in the manner you say the word, you're either turning it into the non-English word "colddd", or you're adding additional hints to the word "cold".

As some of the comments note, though, you're not really getting any extra benefit from trying to add the hint in this case, so you should probably just stick to "cold, 2" in the first place (it still means "cold"), but that's just kicking the can down the road.

If the way you say a word matters, then that probably constitutes an "additional hint".

Consider a different example: clueing the two words "opera" and "monkey" by singing "gorilla" in opera form like "Figaro". One word, sure, but with additional hints added in the way you pronounce it.

But, as always, it's up to your group how much you want to hew to the rules, as per the "golden rule" of Codenames:

If the opposing spymaster allows it, the clue is valid. If you aren't sure, ask your opponent.

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    Obviously "colddd" with three "d" would not be used anywhere during the game. OP put it this way in the question to indicate regular world "cold" (single "d") pronounced with specific tone. Therefore, the fact that "colddd" is not in any dictionary of the English language, is completely irrelevant, since this would only apply to in-game situations, not to OP posting a question on a web site. Jul 1, 2020 at 2:30
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    "Obviously" yes, as I said. either "colddd" or extra hint(s) are being imparted to the word (i.e., it being pronounced in a certain way). And additional hints are restricted by the rules. So either the clue is not an English word ("colddd") or it is a word ("cold") plus additional hints. Jul 1, 2020 at 11:52

My interpretation of the (default) rules on homonyms is that the way you pronounce the word may be variously "colored", while staying within limits of at least occasional pronunciation of the word in the given language, and if you are requested to spell the word as per the rules on homonyms, you should spell it "c-o-l-d". If you have to repeat the clue upon request, you should be trying to produce the same sound every time, as if it was the only way you can pronounce that word.

Dictionaries cover even standard pronunciations, not just the standard written forms of words, but dictionaries can hardly be taken as exhaustive. It's better to consult with the opposing spymaster beforehand.

  • I don't know if I would go that far as it would cause troubles for people who do have issues with pronouncing certain words or stuttering problems
    – Joe W
    Jul 1, 2020 at 15:22
  • @JoeW - If a person normally or at least occasionally pronounces a word a certain way, then that's by definition a legal way for them to pronounce the same word while playing Codenames. When I'm refering to a possible request to repeat the clue, that is, I'm afraid, quite inevitable to endure when a few players didn't hear or didn't recognize the word. I'm advising to choose a spelling and a pronunciation and just stick to both. Jul 1, 2020 at 20:25

Codenames is not a hard game to break. All the clue giver needs to do is not have a full control of their facial expressions, and things are spoiled. Just reaching for a red or blue card too early can break things.

Even if players don't have facial expressions there are other ways to pass information completely legally that is not in the spirit of the game. Let's say you have your team read out loud all the words, and give your clue when they say your word. Legal, but I would not keep playing with that group.

Sp now we come to your question. This is just another way to leak information aside from the very analytical Codenames rule set. I would say don't do it. The spirit of the game is very explicit. You state one word, and it is a specific word. In fact the game tells you to spell the word if the specific word is not clear. It also tells you not to use words for anything but their meaning in relation to other words. Don't give card locations, or something about the spelling of the word. I am pretty sure the designer did not want you to use noises or intonations either.

The way I read the rules when you guess a word, you should be able to explain why that word, not the noise, not other hints, lead you to pick it. If you can't you are not following the spirit of the game.

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    "When the spymaster gives a clue, his or her field operatives try to figure out what it means. They can debate it amongst themselves, but the spymaster must keep a straight face. The operatives indicate their official guess when one of them touches one of the codenames on the table." According to the official rules the spymaster can't use facial expressions and gives the clue before the operatives debate anything so what you are suggesting is against the rules as written.
    – Joe W
    Jul 1, 2020 at 17:27
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    @JoeW Yeah, but that 's not a rule that's possible to enforce, if someone wants to break it
    – Andrey
    Jul 1, 2020 at 18:20
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    It isn't that hard to enforce and it is a rule so breaking that rule is breaking the rules and not just violating the spirit of the game. They included it for a reason and also included rules about not reacting when players say the names of cards or reach out to them. No matter how you look at it what you suggested is breaking the rules.
    – Joe W
    Jul 1, 2020 at 19:01
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    I have been in a game where the opposing team made up their own clues, and what cards they go with, until they had a good "hit" and then the spymaster gave that clue to the team. I just don't play with those people anymore
    – Andrey
    Mar 16, 2022 at 21:48
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    @Stef I think you need to remember two things. First the game rules suggest that you play the way that is fun for your group. If that is the way your group wants to play because it is more enjoyable go for it. Second is that my reading of the rules is from how it worked out with my group and how various things impacted our enjoyment of the game. In the end the rules are very clear about playing in a way that is fun for you but the spirt of the rules from my reading is to limit the information that the spymaster receives from the team.
    – Joe W
    Mar 18, 2022 at 13:43

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