Scrabble dictionary gets 5,000 new words ('hashtag' and 'selfie' make the cut)
Oh, it’s a happy day in Scrabble-land.
Tue, Aug 05, 2014 at 12:19 PM
With the announcement that a whopping 5,000 new words will be included in the fifth edition of "The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary,” adventurous anagramming logophiles everywhere are rubbing their hands in anticipatory delight.
While it was only a matter of time until words like “hashtag,” “selfie,” and “frenemy” were added to the word lovers’ bible (which admittedly may be the bane of haughtier old-school players), it’s the addition of delicious morsels like “te,” “da,” “gi,” “po,” and "qajaq” that has the game’s enthusiasts aflutter.
An elusive “q”-without-a-“u” word that can also polish off an awkward “j” at the same time? New much-coveted two-letter words in the mix? This is the stuff of a Scrabbler’s dream.
North American Scrabble Players Association champion Robin Pollock Daniel says of the new two-letter gems, "Being able to hook an 'e' underneath 't' means that I can play far more words. Sometimes you play parallel to a word and you're making two-letter words along the way. I call those the amino acids of Scrabble. The more two-letter words we have, the more possibilities a word will fit."
Among the splashiest of the additions is "quinzhee," a hollow shelter made in the snow. If a savvy player were to attach "quinzhee” to an existing “u” and snag one of the board’s triple-word score boxes, they would collect a spectacular 401 points. Bingo!
The new words add around 40 pages to the Scrabble dictionary, which hasn’t been updated in a decade. To be considered for inclusion, two-to-eight letter words must be found in a standard dictionary, can't require capitalization or need punctuation, and abbreviations are not permitted.
Merriam-Webster didn't announce all of 5,000 new words, but did release a sneak peek, which includes the following:
- Beatbox (v. -ed, -ing, -es) to sing to the rhythm of rap music
- Bromance (n. pl. -s) a close nonsexual relationship between men
- Buzzkill (n. pl. -s) one that has a depressing or negative effect
- Chillax (v. -ed, -ing) -es to calm down
- Coqui (n. pl. -s) a small arboreal frog
- Da (n. pl. -s) dad
- Dubstep (n. pl. -s) a type of electronic dance music
- Frenemy (n. pl. -mies) one who pretends to be a friend but is actually an enemy
- Funplex (n. pl. -es) a building with facilities for sports and games
- Geocache (n. pl. –cached, -caching, -caches) to search for hidden items by using a global positioning system device as part of a game
- Gi (n. pl. -s) a white garment worn in martial arts
- Hashtag (n. pl. -s) a word or phrase preceded by the symbol # that categorizes the accompanying text
- Jockdom (n. pl. -s) the world of athletes
- Joypad (n. pl. -s) a device with buttons to control computer images
- Mixtape (n. pl. -s) a compilation of songs recorded from various sources
- Mojito (n. pl. -tos) a cocktail made of rum, sugar, mint, and lime juice
- Po (n. pl. pos) a chamber pot
- Ponzu (n. pl. -s) a tangy sauce used chiefly on seafood
- Qajaq (n. pl. -s) kayak
- Qigong (n. pl. -s) a Chinese system of physical exercises
- Schmutz (n. pl. -es) dirt, grime
- Selfie (n. pl. -s) an image of oneself taken by oneself using a phone camera
- Soju (n. pl. -s) Korean vodka distilled from rice or sweet potato
- Sudoku (n. pl. -s) a puzzle involving the numbers 1 through 9
- Te (n. pl. -s) ti
- Texter (n. pl. -s) one that texts
- Vlog (v. vlogged, vlogging, vlogs) to blog video material
- Vodcast (v. -cast or -casted, -casting, -casts) to make video files available for download over the Internet
- Webzine (n. pl. -s) a magazine published on the Internet
- Yuzu (n. pl. -s) a sour Japanese citrus fruit
And while Daniel says that the new words will make the game, “more accessible to younger people, which we're always looking for,” others note that the new words may take some getting used to by the old guard.
"It is going to be a big step for a lot of people to switch to this," says Peter Sokolowski an editor at large for Merriam-Webster. "But at the same time, if you're sitting at a Scrabble game after dinner and somebody plays the word selfie and somebody challenges that as not a real word, well guess what? It is." They'll just have to grab a "mojito" (17 points) and "chillax" (19 points).
The new edition will be released on Aug. 6.
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