We carried out a series of experiments on verbal short-term memory for lists of words. In the first experiment, participants were tested via immediate serial recall, and word frequency and list set size were manipulated. With closed lists, the same set of items was repeatedly sampled, and with open lists, no item was presented more than once. In serial recall, effects of word frequency and set size were found. When a serial reconstruction-of-order task was used, in a second experiment, robust effects of word frequency emerged, but set size failed to show an effect. The effects of word frequency in order reconstruction were further examined in two final experiments. The data from these experiments revealed that the effects of word frequency are robust and apparently are not exclusively indicative of output processes. In light of these findings, we propose a multiple-mechanisms account in which word frequency can influence both retrieval and preretrieval processes.