Weekly Coding Challenge: Most frequently used words in a text – written in JavaScript

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2 min read ~ Hello readers! It’s really important for me to continue my practice and learning. Every week, I block off 30 minutes, set a timer and choose a challenge from codewars. This helps me keep my skills sharp, see how other devs all over the planet would solve these problems, and take some leisure time to problem solve and be creative. Being able to see other solutions expands my mind for solving future problems in a clever and efficient way. Today, the problem set focuses on JavaScript.

Write a function that, given a string of text (possibly with punctuation and line-breaks), returns an array of the top-3 most occurring words, in descending order of the number of occurrences.


  • A word is a string of letters (A to Z) optionally containing one or more apostrophes (‘) in ASCII. (No need to handle fancy punctuation.)
  • Matches should be case-insensitive, and the words in the result should be lowercased.
  • Ties may be broken arbitrarily.
  • If a text contains fewer than three unique words, then either the top-2 or top-1 words should be returned, or an empty array if a text contains no words.


top_3_words("In a village of La Mancha, the name of which I have no desire to call to
mind, there lived not long since one of those gentlemen that keep a lance
in the lance-rack, an old buckler, a lean hack, and a greyhound for
coursing. An olla of rather more beef than mutton, a salad on most
nights, scraps on Saturdays, lentils on Fridays, and a pigeon or so extra
on Sundays, made away with three-quarters of his income.")
# => ["a", "of", "on"]

top_3_words("e e e e DDD ddd DdD: ddd ddd aa aA Aa, bb cc cC e e e")
# => ["e", "ddd", "aa"]

top_3_words("  //wont won't won't")
# => ["won't", "wont"]

Bonus points (not really, but just for fun):

  1. Avoid creating an array whose memory footprint is roughly as big as the input text.
  2. Avoid sorting the entire array of unique words.


function topThreeWords(text) {
    let regex = ".*[a-zA-Z].*";
    if (text.match(regex)) {
        let wordMap = new Map();
        text.split(' ').forEach(word => {
            if (word) {
                word = word.toLowerCase();
                if (wordMap.has(word)) {
                    let count = wordMap.get(word);
                    count ++;
                    wordMap.set(word, count);
                } else {
                    wordMap.set(word, 1);
        const sortedWordMap = new Map([...wordMap.entries()].sort((a, b) => b[1] - a[1]));

        let result = Array.from(sortedWordMap.keys()).filter( (word, index) => index < 3);
        result = result.map(res => {
            res = res.replace(/[/.,]/g, '')
            if (res !== "") {
                return res
        return result.filter(res => res !== undefined)
    } else {
        return [];

All solutions are also now on my GitHub profile if you want to check out all of the coding challenges I’ve completed so far!

All credit to problem sets goes to codewars

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