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Scrabble word list changes: "WESPA hopes this North American isolationism will end one day, for the good of global Scrabble."
December 30, 2011 7:58 AM   Subscribe

On January first the official club and tournament word list used by competitive Scrabble players outside of North America (SOWPODS or CSW or Collins) will change. The updated international word list contains 1532 additions and 145 deletions (pdf) of words of eight or fewer letters. There are no new two-letter words. New words of note: CLIT, CUMS, INBOX, MUNGE, QIN, SPLOG, VOIP, WIKI, XRAY No longer allowed: ACIDFREAK, FOOTROT, MOLEHUNT, PORNOMAG, VICTROLLA, WYSIWIG, YOS

- Downloadable PDFs from WESPA (World English Language Scrabble Players Association) about the changes: summary, deletions, new variants and impacts which is a succinct summary. They've also included a pair of new threes and new fours stories to aid in memorization.
- Word list questions: "What is the official word list?" and some explanation about the different word lists and the anagram-heavy history of the North American Scrabble Players Association word list and NASPAs "How lexicons are compiled" article.
- This affects online players playing with ISC but not Words With Friends which uses a public domain wordlist found here, or the iPhone app which is licensed through Hasbro and uses the North American word list. Facebook Scrabble players will use either Scrabble Beta (US & Canada) or Scrabble Worldwide and it's unclear when wordlist changes will be folded in to the online game.
posted by jessamyn (76 comments total) 49 users marked this as a favorite

 
No arcsin, yes milf? The world loses.
posted by millipede at 8:05 AM on December 30, 2011 [10 favorites]


Oh this is great, thank you!
posted by fake at 8:08 AM on December 30, 2011


Oooo ... the Words With Friends list? Sorry, mom, but with this list and some primitive Ruby, now I am the master.

Oh, boo hoo hoo! After what that woman did to me in Risk when I was nine?
posted by mph at 8:10 AM on December 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'm always pissed "quine" isn't in their dictionary. (By "always" I mean it's come up at least twice.)
posted by callmejay at 8:11 AM on December 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


Scrabble is more fun when you make up rules like 'extra points for swears' or 'extra points for proper nouns.' Not only because you can have a ball trying to defend your moves, but also because it levels the playing field against the type of smug bastard who'll play 'ivi' and be all "oh it's a type of chestnut tree *SMIRK*"
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:11 AM on December 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


I agree with you, millipede, but "arcsin" was never really a word. It's an abbreviation. I hope "arcsine" is still playable.
posted by madcaptenor at 8:12 AM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


WYSIWIG? What You See Is What I Get? I don't think that's a word either.

...And if it ever was, it's awfully rude.
posted by lumensimus at 8:12 AM on December 30, 2011 [10 favorites]


WWF accepted "veejay" as a word during a game. My opponent yelled at me.
posted by griphus at 8:12 AM on December 30, 2011


Also: No longer allowed: ACIDFREAK, FOOTROT, MOLEHUNT, PORNOMAG, VICTROLLA, WYSIWIG, YOS sounds like a banned user list on a BBS.
posted by griphus at 8:13 AM on December 30, 2011 [52 favorites]


I don't understand why you can no longer pluralize "yo." How else does one describe more than one? Yoeux?
posted by availablelight at 8:15 AM on December 30, 2011 [8 favorites]


I thought the three and four letter word stories were great.
posted by yeoz at 8:15 AM on December 30, 2011


I can't think of any situation where one would pluralize "few" into "fews".
posted by rocket88 at 8:18 AM on December 30, 2011


Yay clit! WTF is SPLOG? Also, many of these initialisms - do people actually say them? I mean who says 'Voip?' I've only ever heard it spelled out.
posted by Mister_A at 8:20 AM on December 30, 2011


I can't think of any situation where one would pluralize "few" into "fews".

According to the OED, it is a variant spelling for foose, "The house-leek, Sempervivum tectorum," so there is that.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:21 AM on December 30, 2011


No AMYGDALAS, BLANKIES, or STEADICAM?
Jeez.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 8:21 AM on December 30, 2011


I hear and say Voip all the time, though not too often outside of IT discussions at work.
posted by yeoz at 8:23 AM on December 30, 2011


I was irate when Words With Friends didn't let me play DUBSTEP.
posted by weinbot at 8:27 AM on December 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


No WWEBSITE ?
posted by odinsdream at 8:28 AM on December 30, 2011 [15 favorites]


Words With Friends allows SITH, which helped me win a rare victory. The Dark Side of the Force was with me.
posted by The Deej at 8:29 AM on December 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also... this post just shows why you will never beat Jessamyn at Scrabble. My left buttcheek still hurts from my efforts long ago.
posted by The Deej at 8:30 AM on December 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


I've definitely heard people pronounce "voip." Yeah, I think it's silly, too; seems like it should be the onomatopoeia for tripping on an especially hip banana.
posted by pts at 8:38 AM on December 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've also heard people pronounce "URL." Sounds like the Beverly Hillbillies.
posted by exogenous at 8:45 AM on December 30, 2011


The Deej is now up to his neck in Words with Friends losses! This may help :) thanks Jessamyn!
posted by Jayed at 8:49 AM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


It helps if you think of an URL as that unseen guy Ernest is always talking to.

So when is Words With Friends going to be available for WebOS? (Yes, I got me a firesale HP TorchedPad, so I'm already pre-designated as a Loser)
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:52 AM on December 30, 2011


I ragequit a game of Words and the app because it wouldn't let me play CLIT. Just when I think I was out...
posted by Earthtopus at 8:53 AM on December 30, 2011


"Molehunt" isn't actually being deleted. It's been put in the cell next to Bradley Manning.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:54 AM on December 30, 2011


OK well I have to write a couple of my friends back in 2004 and concede that game because I used "footrot." FOOTROT. That's totally a word. Am really not happy about this development.

Also? Lately we're into Bananagrams. It's great because there is no need to keep score.
posted by zomg at 9:00 AM on December 30, 2011


Not a fan of the removal of the plural interjections... Also, I was surprised to discover the note at the end of the intro to the deletions list that the list of deleted things was compiled by hand, with a pen and checkmark system, presumably...
posted by surlyben at 9:00 AM on December 30, 2011


As long as they kept Za.
posted by drezdn at 9:13 AM on December 30, 2011


CLIT, CUMS, INBOX,

It's like a poem... A dirty, dirty poem.
posted by drezdn at 9:14 AM on December 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


my favorite way to play scrabble is when no real words are allowed - only fake words that sound like real ones.
posted by jb at 9:30 AM on December 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't understand why you can no longer pluralize "yo." How else does one describe more than one? Yoeux?
posted by availablelight at 8:15 AM on December 30 [1 favorite +] [!]


I thought the three and four letter word stories were great.
posted by yeoz at 8:15 AM on December 30 [+] [!]


I think I found your answer.
posted by me3dia at 9:31 AM on December 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


MetaFilter: Yay clit!
posted by Splunge at 9:34 AM on December 30, 2011


Whew. I can still hope to someday drop CWM on someone.
posted by ignignokt at 9:40 AM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Footrot will rize again.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:48 AM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


WYSIWIG is the far more relevant bankster spelling. I can't see how they can get rid of it.
posted by srboisvert at 9:52 AM on December 30, 2011


I don't understand why you can no longer pluralize "yo." How else does one describe more than one? Yoeux?

Yeaux... at least in New Orleans.
posted by doyouknowwhoIam? at 10:00 AM on December 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Does the same list apply for NAKED Scrabble?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 10:00 AM on December 30, 2011


Your mom took away your best PORNOMAG!
posted by chaff at 10:15 AM on December 30, 2011 [18 favorites]


It helps if you think of an URL as that unseen guy Ernest is always talking to.

....Except the unseen guy's name was actually "Vern."

As long as you can still use QI I'm good.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:20 AM on December 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oops, I've been playing QIN in Bananagrams for the last year or so. Busted.
posted by en forme de poire at 10:23 AM on December 30, 2011


I'm always pissed "quine" isn't in their dictionary.

You need a medocal dictionary.
posted by howfar at 10:28 AM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


So if I need to explain to three pirates how to say "yo ho ho and a bottle of rum," it's now wrong to say "you'll need three yos, six hos and three bottles of rum"?

Because, well, I _might_ need to say that.
posted by chavenet at 10:31 AM on December 30, 2011


Acid freak was actually a single word this whole time? Acidfreak. Huh.
posted by NoMich at 10:46 AM on December 30, 2011


I remember first realizing that 'munge' wasn't a common word outside of perl-wranglers.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 11:12 AM on December 30, 2011


Yeah to me a lot of these changes seem oddly tech-friendly, but maybe that's my confirmation bias at work. BLOG is now a verb, there are some more geeky words in there [clickwrap, defragging, firewall, mod-as-verb] and also some weird stuff like fairytale only being an adjective and not a noun anymore? In any case, it was cool to read about the changes and see what a small number of people are really involved in some fairly large-scale changes like this, and also how the copyright/trademark issues between US/Canada and International Scrabble has really caused some strange rifts in the culture. The best part is that nerds are nerds and so while there is a lot of wrangling, most people just want to agree on the rules and PLAY so there's not a lot of bizarre statusing that I've noticed between people that belong to other organizations. Apparently Hasbro stopped their support of NASPA early last year and so there's been some adjusting going on as people decide where to place their tournament loyalties.
posted by jessamyn at 11:17 AM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Blog used to not be allowed in Words with Friends, which I've pretty much quit now that Zynga is trying to monetize it by allowing you to buy peeks at the tiles. The EA Scrabble app sucks and is more interested in selling you other apps than actually playing the game. This is why we can't have nice things, I guess. (My Scrabble-esque proficiency is going to go away quickly now that I've stopped playing.)
posted by immlass at 11:22 AM on December 30, 2011


Also, my vote for word of the year is "Dox".
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 11:33 AM on December 30, 2011


OK, why is "clit" not an abbreviation? Is it also another word I'm not aware of?
posted by TheophileEscargot at 11:50 AM on December 30, 2011


An abbreviation is different from just shortening a word. So FRIDGE is an acceptable shortening of refrigerator but abbr. is an abbreviation for abbreviation and not okay for Scrabble.
posted by jessamyn at 11:54 AM on December 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


When we heard two women chatting on a bus use "pixel", we knew the fun part of computer graphics was ending (late 1980s, I think).

But I don't remember ever hearing a civilian use "blit" -- even the spell checker red-lines it. Rob Pike something something...
posted by hexatron at 12:09 PM on December 30, 2011


VICTROLLA? When was VICTROLLA ever a word? VICTROLA, sure, that's a word, and still is and ever will be. Surely Scrabble isn't accepting missleplings now? Or ever?
posted by Fnarf at 1:20 PM on December 30, 2011


The EA Scrabble app sucks and is more interested in selling you other apps than actually playing the game.

Are you talking about the free version? The app I paid for doesn't do anything but play Scrabble. And considering how much I play on it, it was worth the 3 or 4 bucks.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 1:40 PM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


If I had to pick the most important addition, I would pick QIN, with SOZ a close second. QI is one of the most useful 2s there is, to the point where I would argue that Q should be worth only 8 points because of it. In most of the games I play, I look to play QI to get rid of the Q, and I have gotten a bidirectional triple letter score for it many times. (I would also argue that X should be worth 6; every vowel forms a 2-letter word with it and it isn't unusual to get 48+ or 32+ for it.)
posted by aeschenkarnos at 1:51 PM on December 30, 2011


Are you talking about the free version?

No, I'm talking about the paid version for the iPhone. It has at least two different options on the main screen that lead to lists of other EA games that you might want to buy (ads). I suspect the issue with the ads coming up quickly compared to games is that the ads are stored locally, where updates to games have to be fetched across your data connection. FWIW, the paid version of Words With Friends has pointers to Zynga's other games too (more and more as time goes by) so it's not just EA.
posted by immlass at 2:01 PM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I mean who says 'Voip?' I've only ever heard it spelled out.

Strong Bad has pronounced it at least once.

The app I paid for doesn't do anything but play Scrabble. And considering how much I play on it, it was worth the 3 or 4 bucks.

Yeah, but is it worth supporting Hasbro and Electronic Arts?
posted by JHarris at 2:02 PM on December 30, 2011


I would enjoy a version of Scrabble where the acceptable words are Things That Strong Bad Has Said.
posted by nebulawindphone at 2:32 PM on December 30, 2011


Zynga is trying to monetize it by allowing you to buy peeks at the tiles.

Wait, what? I didn't know this.
posted by miss tea at 3:07 PM on December 30, 2011


The Deej: "Also... this post just shows why you will never beat Jessamyn at Scrabble. My left buttcheek still hurts from my efforts long ago."

Jessamyn and I have been logging our scrabble matches since July 2010. We have played a total of 208 games. In those games, I have won 105, she has won 103. I have scored 74,317 points to her 74,914—a 597-point difference. So, while I have won more games, she has a 2.87-point-per-game advantage over me. In the ISC ratings system, she's at 1031, and I'm at 935; she beats me by more points each game than I beat her, weighting that in her favor. She's also been on a real tear lately, and I have been in a slump (14 games without a bingo).

That's the scrabble-versus-Jessamyn report; now, back to our regularly-scheduled FPP, already in progress.
posted by not_on_display at 3:33 PM on December 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can they really be sure that this new-fangled "x-ray" technology is really going to last?
posted by Kabanos at 3:41 PM on December 30, 2011


Thanks not_on_display. 357 vs 360 average points per game indicates that you're both really good, and there's very little between you in terms of skill. So no wonder you have been able to play 208 games together. :) If she is beating you by more points, but less often, that indicates to me that she may be playing somewhat more towards bingos than you are, which in turn indicates that she may be slightly better at rack management and/or more willing to do dump plays and throw out letters than you are. On the other hand you have a comparable average score with a lower bingo per game ratio, which indicates to me that you may be slightly better at letter placement, ie you score high-value letters bidirectionally more often.

Am I on the right track? :)
posted by aeschenkarnos at 3:59 PM on December 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I just downloaded the iPad scrabble app the other day and it's great, except that the computer keeps using these "scrabble dictionary" words that might as well be made up (the one I remember was 'caryotin'. I put a couple of them into google to try to find definitions and the only results that came back were links to scrabble word lists. Very annoying!
posted by sevenyearlurk at 4:18 PM on December 30, 2011


Ohh a scrabble thread w/o any real tournament knowledge. Splendid!

Huge difference between NASPA (USA/Can) and SOWPODS (Non-USA/Can):

Used to be that C, V, Q and Z had no 2 letter words beginning with them in NASPA (TWL98) dictionaries. Thus these letters were both amazing defensively (could close off rows and columns if they begun and ended words), and were real "rack killers" towards the end of a a game.
In the most recent update to what is now NASPA (2006?), QI and ZA both joined the list of acceptable 2LWs and these defensive letters became incredibly offensive (e.g. QI played horizontally and vaerically on a 3xLetter score letter became worth 64 points!). Now north america only has C and V as blocker letters....

Sowpods has QI, ZO and CH.

The only letter that cannot begin any two letter words in international scrabble is V......
posted by lalochezia at 4:33 PM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Santorum is still a word, right?
posted by anothermug at 4:52 PM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


aeschenkarnos: "...she may be playing somewhat more towards bingos than you are, which in turn indicates that she may be slightly better at rack management and/or more willing to do dump plays and throw out letters than you are. On the other hand you have a comparable average score with a lower bingo per game ratio, which indicates to me that you may be slightly better at letter placement, ie you score high-value letters bidirectionally more often.

"Am I on the right track? :)
"

I think you got it! Though I am much more likely to do a partial rack dump when I am ahead by 30 or so, while Jess doesn't change tiles often. I definitely look for the bi-directional mid-to-high-scoring letters on DW or TW spaces--but my defense is weak, as I sometimes try to set myself up, and don't expect her to see the move, so when she does, it's usually a slam dunk momentum shifter.

Thanks, aeschenkarnos, for your insightful analysis!
posted by not_on_display at 4:56 PM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes I am good at dump plays!

lalochezia, thanks for the tourney info. I always forget about CH.
posted by jessamyn at 5:58 PM on December 30, 2011


Wait, what? I didn't know this.

Look for the "Words With Friends store" in your app. So far they've only got two cheats you can buy, but I'm sure there will be more in time. They're not cheap either. I know none of the people I play with would use them but seeing them there really ruined my enthusiasm for the game.
posted by immlass at 6:40 PM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm glad clit is finally being recognized. I was really mad when Words With Friends would not accept it, but it accepted "dongs" from my opponent.
posted by Deflagro at 7:57 PM on December 30, 2011


I would enjoy a version of Scrabble where the acceptable words are Things That Strong Bad Has Said.

FHQWHGADS ON A TRIPLE WORD SCORE

WHO'S THE BOSS NOW
posted by en forme de poire at 9:37 PM on December 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


griphus: "Also: No longer allowed: ACIDFREAK, FOOTROT, MOLEHUNT, PORNOMAG, VICTROLLA, WYSIWIG, YOS sounds like a banned user list on a BBS"

Or a list of 60s beyond top secret CIA programs, according to your local conspiracy nut.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 12:50 AM on December 31, 2011


Also, seeing people talk about advanced strategy in Scrabble is a little depressing. I always just thought of it as a game where you needed to scramble letter sequences to make words, and have a decent vocabulary.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 12:54 AM on December 31, 2011


And (for a triple comment score), "Word Feud" is the preferred scrabble-like app for iOS among people I know. Haven't tried it myself yet, but if you dislike the other options, it might be worth trying. Free version has ads, premium does not.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 1:02 AM on December 31, 2011


It has at least two different options on the main screen that lead to lists of other EA games that you might want to buy

I, um, never pressed the little EA button. It's not like ads get in between you and the game, which I've seen on some free game apps.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 7:22 AM on December 31, 2011


I always just thought of it as a game where you needed to scramble letter sequences to make words, and have a decent vocabulary.

One of the things that I like about Scrabble is that if you find people to play with who are about at your level it can be whatever you want it to be and you can have a good time. So not_on_display and I like to play a certain way but we both sort of draw the line at memorizing seven letter words or playing with challenges, something that other players would consider nuts [and keeps us out of tournament range] other people just like to play good words, and good on them. You might enjoy this video, if you're newer to strategy or if you're curious about it. I went to a local Scrabble Club night in Rhode Island once and got my ass handed to me by a guy who didn't even really speak English but knew every single word in the dictionary. Not that fun.
posted by jessamyn at 8:46 AM on December 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


I, um, never pressed the little EA button.

I pressed the EA button because the shitty cross-platform implementation wasn't working properly in some way or other and I was (futilely) looking for more help than I was getting in making the app work. The problem with the ad-to-game ratio in the EA Scrabble app is largely that the app implementation is slow and ill-thought-out (ex: messages sent in the game don't get marked as read at any point during the game afaict) and EA has clearly thought more about how to implement the ads and make them speedy and efficient than how to make the app and the game I bought it to play work well. If it works for you, more power to you; I found it a horrible implementation of a good game and not worth my time to play.
posted by immlass at 9:25 AM on December 31, 2011


Two things irk me about Scrabble.

First, the word list is apparently defended with IP baggage, so The Knowledge is extremely limited to the Scrabble game and the Scrabble game only; and, conversely, other word games tend to have super shitty dictionaries that include non-words that someone's cousin's aunt thought should be included.

Second, although generally it's of higher quality, the Scrabble word list does also include a large number of nonsense words that don't actually exist but are likely maintained for point value.

The most annoying game of Scrabble I ever played was when my girlfriend-at-the-time, noting that we didn't have the official Scrabble dictionary, proposed that we play using my paper OED2 as the reference. Of course she randomly guessed every word as was her style, and what do you know, someone in Lower Slobovia in 1722 said the word in a rude poem once...
posted by felix at 6:33 PM on January 3, 2012


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