Word Search LeetCode Solution

Problem – Word Search

Given an m x n grid of characters board and a string word, return true if word exists in the grid.

The word can be constructed from letters of sequentially adjacent cells, where adjacent cells are horizontally or vertically neighboring. The same letter cell may not be used more than once.

Example 1:

Input: board = [["A","B","C","E"],["S","F","C","S"],["A","D","E","E"]], word = "ABCCED"
Output: true

Example 2:

Input: board = [["A","B","C","E"],["S","F","C","S"],["A","D","E","E"]], word = "SEE"
Output: true

Example 3:

Input: board = [["A","B","C","E"],["S","F","C","S"],["A","D","E","E"]], word = "ABCB"
Output: false


  • m == board.length
  • n = board[i].length
  • 1 <= m, n <= 6
  • 1 <= word.length <= 15
  • board and word consists of only lowercase and uppercase English letters.

Follow up: Could you use search pruning to make your solution faster with a larger board?

Word Search LeetCode Solution in Java

public boolean exist(char[][] board, String word) {
    char[] w = word.toCharArray();
    for (int y=0; y<board.length; y++) {
    	for (int x=0; x<board[y].length; x++) {
    		if (exist(board, y, x, w, 0)) return true;
    return false;

private boolean exist(char[][] board, int y, int x, char[] word, int i) {
	if (i == word.length) return true;
	if (y<0 || x<0 || y == board.length || x == board[y].length) return false;
	if (board[y][x] != word[i]) return false;
	board[y][x] ^= 256;
	boolean exist = exist(board, y, x+1, word, i+1)
		|| exist(board, y, x-1, word, i+1)
		|| exist(board, y+1, x, word, i+1)
		|| exist(board, y-1, x, word, i+1);
	board[y][x] ^= 256;
	return exist;

Word Search LeetCode Solution in Python

def exist(self, board, word):
    if not board:
        return False
    for i in xrange(len(board)):
        for j in xrange(len(board[0])):
            if self.dfs(board, i, j, word):
                return True
    return False

# check whether can find word, start at (i,j) position    
def dfs(self, board, i, j, word):
    if len(word) == 0: # all the characters are checked
        return True
    if i<0 or i>=len(board) or j<0 or j>=len(board[0]) or word[0]!=board[i][j]:
        return False
    tmp = board[i][j]  # first character is found, check the remaining part
    board[i][j] = "#"  # avoid visit agian 
    # check whether can find "word" along one direction
    res = self.dfs(board, i+1, j, word[1:]) or self.dfs(board, i-1, j, word[1:]) \
    or self.dfs(board, i, j+1, word[1:]) or self.dfs(board, i, j-1, word[1:])
    board[i][j] = tmp
    return res

Word Search LeetCode Solution in C++

bool exist(vector<vector<char>>& board, string word) {
    for (unsigned int i = 0; i < board.size(); i++) 
        for (unsigned int j = 0; j < board[0].size(); j++) 
            if (dfs(board, i, j, word))
                return true;
    return false;

bool dfs(vector<vector<char>>& board, int i, int j, string& word) {
    if (!word.size())
        return true;
    if (i<0 || i>=board.size() || j<0 || j>=board[0].size() || board[i][j] != word[0])  
        return false;
    char c = board[i][j];
    board[i][j] = '*';
    string s = word.substr(1);
    bool ret = dfs(board, i-1, j, s) || dfs(board, i+1, j, s) || dfs(board, i, j-1, s) || dfs(board, i, j+1, s);
    board[i][j] = c;
    return ret;
Word Search LeetCode Solution Review:

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