back to article Now you can officially dox Scrabble players, thanks to the new dictionary definitions

It's official: you can now "dox" Scrabble players. The venerable word game has an official dictionary to save the endless squabbles about what is and isn't allowed and this week it added no less than 2,862 new words to the existing 276,000. That should enable a fair few family arguments. And, yep, "dox" – defined as "to …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Scrabble Players?! OMG!!

    I'm not really too sure what to make of 'Exactly the sort of people you imagine when you think "Scrabble player" ', other than to conclude that our author Kieran doesn't play, and possibly has a low opinion of those who do. Personally, I imagine simply someone who enjoys engaging their brain for the pleasure of it.

    Scrabble has already been significantly degraded in recent years by the addition of numerous words using 'Q' to supposed english dictionaries that happen to be much easier to play in scrabble than older 'Q' words. Q being a high scoring letter, that increases the importance of luck over skill.

    "Collins Official SCRABBLE™ Words dictionary" might seem like a useful addition, it does have the advantage of being definitive, but it raises the temptation for those selling it and the game to add new words just to push sales of new editions of the "Dictionary".

    Myself and other players I know generally find the greatest pleasure in not letting the competition eclipse other aspects like keeping the pattern open and extending, rather than shut down just to grub out an extra point or two on a given play.

    I actually find something allegorical in that, but perhaps that's exactly the sort of BS one would expect from a Scrabble Player. . . .

    1. overunder Silver badge

      Re: Scrabble Players?! OMG!!

      "I'm not really too sure..."

      You're killing it with the irony.

      Ever notice in Scrabble there's always that dude who can "prove it", which is proof enough that I shouldn't be playing.

      Women being better a Scrabble, sure, which is why I never play women at such games. Whatever, I kill it at naked twister, and in that game "NERFHERDERS" is played any way you want, I'll prove it.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Scrabble Players?! OMG!!

        Whatever, I kill it at naked twister, and in that game "NERFHERDERS" is played any way you want, I'll prove it.

        I think many of us will just accept your word for it. No proof necessary.

        Icon: Checking coat pockets for mind bleach.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Scrabble Players?! OMG!!

      "Personally, I imagine simply someone who enjoys engaging their brain for the pleasure of it."

      Like all "competitive games", it depends on your personality type. If you are naturally competitive then people who play "just as a game" drive you nuts (and you, them) whereas if you aren't then there is nothing (*) more annoying than someone who "has to play to win, or else it's no fun".

      At least in Scrabble you can tell the two types apart early on. The "players" start by setting up the board. The "winners" start by finding the nearest dictionary to use as a final arbiter.

      (* Except for a wasp at a picnic, obviously. Did I even need to say that? Probably not.)

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Scrabble Players?! OMG!!

        "The "winners" start by finding the nearest dictionary to use as a final arbiter."

        There's another group that fall into the category: the 'Have played Scrabble before and know that this is the easiest way to sort out any arguments' people.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Scrabble Players?! OMG!!

          From a radio program I heard on top level Scrabble championships then most of the top players in the world don't actually speak english ... they are just very good at learning lists of words from the official dictionary (and doubtless the regular addition of a bunch of new words must help sales in some way).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Scrabble Players?! OMG!!

            ..and that seems to me to be part of the problem. A lot of the new additions look like they're just there for the sake of it. It won't be long before the official dictionary is just a list of random letters that you have to learn.

            I don't know more than a dozen serious players but those I do know seem to be using other dictionaries which, to their minds, reflect a more traditional approach to dictionary writing.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Scrabble Players?! OMG!!

              "It won't be long before the official dictionary is just a list of random letters that you have to learn."

              For a nod to IT history I'd hope they will eventually allow xyzzy in futue ... though not really useful as I think it needs both blank tiles ... maybe plugh would be a better candidate

          2. MonkeyCee

            Re: Scrabble Players?! OMG!!

            "on top level Scrabble championships then most of the top players in the world don't actually speak english ."

            Considering you can play Scrabble in many different languages languages, with different distributions and letters, and there are competitions in those languages, I'd expect there to be quite a few chanmpions who don't speak English.

            However, the example you are *probably* thinking off is the kiwi chap who doesn't speak French, but memorised the appropriate words in French (2 letter words, 7 and 8 letter words), then won the French championship.

            Last I heard no-one has won the English version without being an English speaker.

      2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Scrabble Players?! OMG!!

        There's a better way to win at Scrabble. While they're finding a proper Scrabble dictionary, I'm finding my old large print version of the shorter OED. It's decades out of date, but after you've been hit round the head with that a few times you'll be agreeing that I'm right (and sounding rather dazed), even if the word I'm trying to use is "turlingdromes".

      3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Scrabble Players?! OMG!!

        The "winners" start by finding the nearest dictionary to use as a final arbiter

        Or, as we used to call them in the D&D/wargaming world - rules lawyers. AKA "the people who don't get invited back for the next game.."

        Nothing quite so annoying fot a GM as someone insisting that they can do so-and-so because "the rules don't say you can't" (while ignoring the bit in the manuals that say "the GM is the final arbiter - what they say goes..").

        And the very worst is the GM who is a rules lawyer. Mind you, they tend not to attract players to their games more than once.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Scrabble Players?! OMG!!

          Surely a good GM can just find a way to kill the rules lawyers' character off - problem solved.

        2. MonkeyCee

          Re: Scrabble Players?! OMG!!

          " Or, as we used to call them in the D&D/wargaming world - rules lawyers. AKA "the people who don't get invited back for the next game.." "

          D+D isn't a competitive game, despite the existence of rulebooks etc. You can't "win" it, it's an entirely collaborative social activity*. I can see why it's fun, although my experience was that it was mainly an ego wank for GMs and certain types of players. With the exception of one group (no dice, GM made all the calls) I found that it was one of the least enjoyable ways to hang out with my friends.

          Scrabble is a competitive game. That means you have to agree on some arbitration of what words are or are not allowed, be it a GM, dictionary or just let whatever go.

          Mind you, I've often been accused of being a boring, terrible, killjoy rules lawyer for many a game when I do the terrible deed of reading the rules to try and work out why something seems out of balance, and discovering that we're not playing the rules as written, but some sort of house rule bonanza.

          It's about playing a game appropriately. D+D is pretty much all house rules on how the group want to handle the adventure enjoyably.

          When I'm kicking the ball around the park with my kid, we don't keep score nor bother with such things as fouls, ball going out of play etc. Because those rules are not part of enjoying the game. But if after a premiership game the teams said "nah, we didn't bother keeping score, it was just for laffs" it wouldn't really fly.

          * and yes, people still try to win at it....

  2. GrapeBunch
    Mushroom

    Last Exit

    At a chess-and-scrabble coffeehouse, decades ago, a Scrabble maven showed me his ultimate word:

    CHRONOCHROMATIC

    that's 15 letters. It hit all 3 triple-word squares, so 3x3x3 = 27 times the tile value initially scored. The original tile rack would have had to contain C, H, and C again, but I don't remember the other four letters. Of course it was a bingo, so 50 point bonus. There's insufficient room on the 15x15 board for a 16-letter word.

    Don't ask questions such as "Is that really a word?" "Did they get away with that in 1973?" "What does it mean?" "How would you even know whether it's a word, when Scrabble dictionaries top out at 8-letter words?" "How did he hook it?" Just don't ask. Me.

    In Chess, it may seem arbitrary, for example, when you're allowed to castle versus when it's forbidden. But when you figure it out, those rules make sense. To an outsider, the words of Scrabble seem an arbitrary lot. At one point, for example, it looked like they had a lot of loan words from Spanish, but not so much from other languages. In Trivial Pursuit, it was useful to figure out that the game's quizmaster must have read a book about US Vice-Presidents of the Republican persuasion. That helped answer at least one question about which I wouldn't have had a clue.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Last Exit

      That may be his ultimate word but I have a hard time imagining it actually being played. He has 7 tiles in his rack specifically including C H and C that means that of the 12 remaining letters HROMOC and ROMATI, 4 are in his rack and the remaining 8 are already played on the board in making valid words in that specific arrangement and not covering the triple word squares. What are the odds of that? Can someone better at Scrabble than come up with what those 8 letters on the board could be, if it is even possible?

    3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Last Exit

      I've given up on competitive chess. On the grounds that it's too much work. I'm happy to spend 4 hours of my life playing a single game, even though the levels of concentration are pretty high if you want to be any good. But it's the work you need to put in when you're not playing that I can't be arsed with. All those openings to learn, and then you start looking at books on endgames as well, and soon you've gone down the rabbit hole. So I'd avoid competitive Scrabble for the same reason.

      I'd rather play a game that engages brain, but doesn't require extensive research beforehand. There's some really good modern boardgames nowadays, with varying levels of theme, silliness, luck and proper concentration - to suit your taste.

      Last night I played a quick game of Clank! - and failed by one turn to get my friend eaten by a dragon - to stop him escaping with more treasure than me. It's more thematic and lucky than some, but you still need a good strategy to do well - and I slightly mistimed mine.

      If you want a game that requires much more skill and forward planning (and maths) then there's the excellent Power Grid or for a bit more theme but still requiring good strategy there's Eclipse. Even better they're just re-releasing a tweaked version of Eclipse this year, so you can either pick up the old one cheap, or wait a few months for the shiny new one.

      From the sublime to the ridiculous, which I gave to my nephew for his 8th birthday on Saturday, Loopin' Chewie, which we had lots of fun with.

  3. Andrew Moore

    "Ok we're being told "nerfherders" isn't allowed. "

    And highly difficult to play given that it's 11 letters. You'd need someone to have already played "herd" or "herder(s)"

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      You'd need someone to have already played "herd" or "herder(s)"

      Not at all. There could be four parallel words already on the board, providing letters you could use by completing your word orthogonally.

  4. chivo243 Silver badge
    Happy

    Scruffiest of the Nerfherders

    As the Scruffiest, and a scrabble player since I was 9 or so, I still have the Deluxe Scrabble game I gave my grandparents, with the cool board that has compartments for the pieces, and they don't go skidding across the board when you turn it for the next player. My grandma was unbeatable, unless she took pity on you ;-} She did multiple crossword puzzles a day too!

    When the game gets watered down too much, someone will reign in the insanity, and release a proper scrabble dictionary without all the gimme words. D'oh!

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Scruffiest of the Nerfherders

      Not to me tacky, but that's spleled "rein". It's a horse thing. Unless of course you are talking about what your Queen is currently doing, which would make some sense.

      1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: Unless of course you are talking about what your Queen is currently doing

        Are you referring to our 1.63 metre ruler?

        She's reigning.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Unless of course you are talking about what your Queen is currently doing

          But she needs to rein in the politicians.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Unless of course you are talking about what your Queen is currently doing

            Unfortunately, being a figurehead she's quite wooden and incapable of flexibility. Seems to me that a stiff at the helm is quite useless, and the politicians like it that way.

          2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

            Re: But she needs to rein in the politicians.

            As in Repetitive Electoral Impulse Noise?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Scruffiest of the Nerfherders

      I also still own that set; does your electronic timer still work??

  5. Christoph
    Boffin

    OK not Okay?

    But can you use QX?

    (Drat, no propeller beanie icon.)

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: OK not Okay?

      Settle not for the short version. 'Okeydokey' is found in dictionaries.

      Sadly, okily-dokily is still waiting to be added.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: OK not Okay?

        "Sadly, okily-dokily is still waiting to be added."

        as is embiggen which is another perfectly cromulent word.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: OK not Okay?

      The thing is, the original word was "OK". "Okay" is long for "OK", so "OK" should not be rejected in Scrabble on the grounds of it being an abbreviation.

      0 OK, 0:1? (I had to get that in somewhere, as well as this.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: OK not Okay?

        But the urban myth says it was "Au quai", what the Francophone inspector said when passing the consignment to the dock. And that's two words. But if that is correct and it's an abbreviation, it should then be AQ.

        Scrabble dictionary should surely be more, not less restrictive. In der Beschränkung zeigt sich erst der Meister, und das Gesetz nur kann uns Freiheit geben. And who can argue with Goethe?

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: OK not Okay?

          I've heard all kinds of variations on the etymology of OK. Most recently, I guy tried to persuade me that it was from from Scots och aye.

          The usually useless Wiki has a pretty good wrap-up of where it really came from.

          IMO, it was an abbreviation but has now become a word of its own, and thus is valid in Scrabble. The English language mutates. It is not under the control of any one person, organization or country. Get used to this concept pedants, you'll sleep better.

        2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: OK not Okay?

          And who can argue with Goethe?

          No-one - cos he's dead.

          HTH, HAND etc etc

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: OK not Okay?

        Sounds like half of a very early Half Man Half Biscuit playing a dead cat at the bottom of an untuned lift shaft. Which half I'll leave to your imagination.

        1. RancidOrange

          Re: OK not Okay?

          I would recommend Albert Tatlock.

  6. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    hackerazzo

    Is impossible in Scrabble unless a blank tile is used for the second "z", which doesn't gain anything in points, unless attracting the 7-letter bonus..

    I've always felt that a good knowledge of the valid two letter words is necessary for Scrabble. Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary used to be the dictionary of choice for those I used to play against, but I see that the Twenty First Century version (searchable online) has done Scrabble players a great disservice by retiring the "ai" (sloth) and using it only for the two abbreviations ("artificial intelligence" and "artificial insemination").

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: hackerazzo

      "which doesn't gain anything in points, unless attracting the 7-letter bonus.."

      Unless 'hacker' is already on the board, and there's a triple-letter square two *or three* spaces after. Then you can slide your z onto it.

      "retiring the "ai" (sloth)"

      Wait, how can a dictionary decide that three-toed sloths no longer exist?

      1. Scott 53

        Re: hackerazzo

        "retiring the "ai"

        It's not retired. It's just resting.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: hackerazzo

        reiting "ai" in scrabble ... is it still alloiwed in Boggle? Ai, along with Li (a chinese measure of distance) and Ti (a tahitian tree) used to be near the top of my list of go-to 2 letter boggle words.

    2. macjules Silver badge

      Re: hackerazzo

      The rule in our home has always been that if the word is not in the version of the OED in the house then you lose the challenge and are fined the value of the points you would have won.

    3. AlanS
      Holmes

      Re: hackerazzo

      The Chambers app for Android still has "ai" and is great value for money: it was approx £6/$10 when I bought it, and it gets updates for free!

  7. Trollslayer Silver badge

    Life

    Get one.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Life

      Bad troll. No cookie.

      (If a commentard calling itself "Trollslayer" is trolling, shouldn't it slay itself on general principal? And when it's recommending other people "get a life" when logically it should be taking it's own ... there's a word for that, isn't there?)

      Scrabble word o't'day: xylyl ... can be pluralized.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Life

      Don't get one! The Game of Life is rubbish

      I believe in the US it's just called Life though. A game seemingly designed to make Monopoly look like fun in comparison.

      1. MonkeyCee

        Re: Life

        "A game seemingly designed to make Monopoly look like fun in comparison."

        Monopoly can be great fun. Auction mechanics are very good for balancing out a game.

        Just play with one of several "good" sets of rules, including the standard one that comes in the box. The socialist rules (the original rules) make it a very good game, playing the capitalist rules by the way they are written it's an OK game.

        But getting anyone, other than boardgamers, to try that is like pulling teeth. Because of the massive amount of house rules that exist to make the game more random, harder and less skillful, while making it go on longer. It would be like playing chess where you could keep getting your pieces back.

  8. Glen 1 Silver badge

    Re: bae

    I was under the impression that bae stood for "before anyone else" and was thus, an abbreviation, and therefore not eligible.

    1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: bae

      It's onomatopoeia for a Scottish sheep.

  9. PhilipN Silver badge

    Not OK

    Thought OK was (1) an abbreviation of Orl Korrect which was (2) misspelled (3) slang.

    So a definite no - no - no.

  10. a pressbutton

    We add rules in our family

    a) dad is allowed to look up words on his turn

    b) everyone else cannot look up at all and needs to know what their words mean

    1. Keven E

      we don't need no stinking rules...

      One could only look up one word per turn from an agreed upon dictionary, yet someone else looked it up (so the requester couldn't find/see two word spellings on that page), and if it was a good one, you had to use it... otherwise no penalties for your one research request.

      Everyone got a last, in order turn to dump a word after the first person out of tiles.

      You couldn't dump all your tiles.... max 6.

      All multiplier (letter or word) spaces were reusable... made for a lot of prefix and suffix additions.

  11. ratfox Silver badge

    What I find surprising is that I always understood OK was the original word, abbreviation of "all correct", and that okay was a weird bastard opposite of abbreviation from OK. A bit like writing effbeeaye for FBI.

  12. mark jacobs
    Coat

    I've got one word to say to you ..

    .. QUETZALS spanning two triple word scores, with the T already on the board! Neh neh!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When I used to play

    With a bunch of my meth addicted mates back in the day, we found that the regular scrabble board was much to small for a reasonable game, so we extended it to a full table top size. You could easily get your 18 letter words on that.

    1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: You could easily get your 18 letter words on that.

      Is this the German version of Scrabble?

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020