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Scrabble Dictionary Adds 500 New Words

FILE - Scrabble games are displayed at a store in Palo Alto, California on February 9, 2009. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

Scrabble Dictionary Adds 500 New Words
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Scrabble is a popular word game in which players put letters of the alphabet together to form words. It helps when a player remembers unusual words to use in the game.

This month, the game is about to get more interesting with 500 new words and variations added to The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

Some of the new words include stan, sitch, convo, zedonk, dox, and fauxhawk. They will be a part of the more than 100,000 words of two to eight letters in the dictionary.

The book was last brought up to date in 2018 through a longstanding partnership between Hasbro, the maker of Scrabble, and the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

New words

Peter Sokolowski is Merriam-Webster’s editor at large. He said the editors look at the often-updated online database at to expand the Scrabble dictionary.

But Scrabble players only look for eight-letter words that help them clear their racks for 50 extra points. Sokolowski said the new word fauxhawk has the highest possible points for a new word.

Fauxhawk is a haircut similar to a Mohawk. Embiggen, a verb meaning to increase in size, is among the unexpected. For example, “I really need to embiggen that Scrabble dictionary.”

Other eight-letter words include hogsbane, more commonly known as giant hogweed, and pranayam, a breathing technique in yoga.

The new words include shorter versions of other words like guac for guacamole. And there are more variations in the use of nouns as verbs, like adulted and adulting.

Sokolowski told the Associated Press, “We also turned verb into a verb so you can play verbed and verbing.”

Compound words are words created by combining two or more words. In the new dictionary, there are deadname, pageview, babymoon, and subtweet. So are words with “un,” such as unfollow and unsub. They may sound familiar, but they were never in Scrabble’s official dictionary.

The new dictionary includes at least one old-sounding word that simply was forgotten for years: yeehaw.

“Yeehaw is like so many of the older, informal terms. They were more spoken than written, and the gold standard for dictionary editing was always written evidence. So a term like yeehaw, which we all know from our childhood and in movies and TV, was something you heard. You didn’t read it that often,” Sokolowski said.

This photo shows the cover of the seventh edition of “The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary” released in November. The latest edition adds about 500 new words for Scrabble play. (Merriam-Webster via AP)
This photo shows the cover of the seventh edition of “The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary” released in November. The latest edition adds about 500 new words for Scrabble play. (Merriam-Webster via AP)

Other words

The editors have also added many new words related to food. They include iftar, horchata, kabocha, mofongo, zoodle, wagyu, and queso.

Scrabble players, however, only care about scoring more points with the words than their meaning.

But if you want to know: Iftar is a meal taken by Muslims at sundown to break the daily fast during the holiday season of Ramadan. Mofongo is a traditional food from Puerto Rico. Horchata is a sweet drink and kabocha is a winter squash.

For the rest, you will have to look them up yourself.

Hunt them down

In the last year or two, Scrabble has also removed more than 200 offensive words. They may, however, still be present in older Scrabble dictionaries.

Sokolowski would not say what all the 500 new words were. He said the players should hunt them down on their own. And he added, “You’ve got some fun new words.”

So which new word is his favorite? “I like eggcorn,” Sokolowski said, “because it’s a word about words.”

The dictionary says eggcorn is a word or phrase that sounds like and is mistakenly used for another word.

I’m Gregory Stachel.

Leanne Italie reported this story for The Associated Press. Gregory Stachel adapted it for VOA Learning English.


Words in This Story

variation n. feeling or showing the effect of too much work, use, or effort

informal adj. the state of being poor

standard n. a level of quality or achievement that is considered acceptable or desirable


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