Yowza! 300 new words added to Scrabble dictionary

Scrabble players will have to rethink their game after new words, including OK and ew, added to approved list

Three hundred new words have been added to the official US Scrabble dictionary, including sriracha, aquafaba, beatdown, zomboid, twerk, sheeple, wayback, bibimbap, botnet, emoji, facepalm, frowny, hivemind, puggle and yowza.

Merriam-Webster released the sixth edition of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary on Monday, four years after the last version.

Included in the new edition are some long-awaited two letter words, notably OK and ew.

“OK is something Scrabble players have been waiting for, for a long time,” said lexicographer Peter Sokolowski, editor at large at Merriam-Webster. “Basically two- and three-letter words are the lifeblood of the game.”

There’s more good news for Scrabble players with the addition of qapik, a unit of currency in Azerbaijan, adding to an arsenal of 20 playable words beginning with q that don’t need a u.

“Every time there’s a word with q and no u, it’s a big deal,” Sokolowski said. “Most of these are obscure.”

Yowza is one of the new words added to the official dictionary.
Yowza is one of the new words added to the official dictionary. Photograph: Richard Drew/AP

There are some high scorers now eligible for play, including bizjet, meaning a small plane used for business, which, if played as a plural – bizjets – as an opening gambit, would be worth a whopping 120 points due to the 50-point bonus for using all seven tiles and the double word bonus space usually played at the start. There are also words that will be great for getting rid of unwanted vowels, like arancini, those Italian balls of cooked rice.

The Massachusetts-based dictionary company sought counsel from the North American Scrabble Players Association when updating the book, Sokolowski said, “to make sure that they agree these words are desirable.”

Sokolowski has a favourite among the new words but not, primarily, because of Scrabble scores. “It’s macaron,” he said, referring to the delicate French biscuit.

“I just like what it means,” he said.

Merriam-Webster put out the first official Scrabble dictionary in 1976. Before that, the game’s rules called for any desk dictionary to be consulted. Since an official dictionary was created, it has been updated every four to eight years.

There’s often chatter around Scrabble boards over which foreign words have been accepted into English to the degree they’re playable. In this new dictionary, schneid, a word with German roots that refers to a losing streak, as well as bibimbap, cotija and sriracha have all been added.

Scrabble was first trademarked as such in 1948, after it was thought up under a different name in 1933 by Alfred Mosher Butts, an out-of-work architect in Poughkeepsie, New York. Interest in the game picked up in the early 1950s, according to legend, when the president of Macy’s happened upon it while on vacation.

Guardian staff and agencies

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