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300 new words have been added to the Scrabble dictionary, and they tell us a lot about 2018

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Susan Devaney
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Scrabble has been given a much-needed update, and it’s very good news for two-letter word fans…

If your Christmas looks anything like ours, then you’ll know that a post-lunch game of Scrabble has the power both to bring families together, and… well, and set them at one another’s throats. Indeed, from squabbling over the rules, to challenging one another over the correct spelling of a word, Scrabble can expose an ugly, competitive side in even the most laidback of family members.

However, this is, without a doubt, one of the reasons we love the game so very much. Launched in the Fifties, the allure of a brilliantly-placed word has lured gamers in for decades – but the official Scrabble dictionary has long been a source of contention for many modern-day fans. For example, why isn’t OK an approved word yet? Why?!

Well, fellow Scrabble-loving fans, things are changing… and for the better. That’s right: the board game has been given an upgrade, with a whopping 300 new words being added to the official Scrabble dictionary. And there are certainly some millennial-approved zingers in there, too: think sriracha, beatdown, zomboid, twerk, sheeple, wayback, bibimbap, botnet, emoji, facepalm, frowny, hivemind, puggle and yowza.

Better still? Some much-needed two-letter words, such as ew and that elusive OK, have made the cut, too.

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.”

The board game has been given an upgrade with 300 new words having been added to the official Scrabble dictionary

To help players rack up the points, a new q-letter word has been added, too. Oh yes: players will be pleased to know that qapik, a unit of currency in Azerbaijan, is now one 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.”

Sokolowski, however, is less interested in the two-letter words than he is the more delicious additions.

“[My favoruite new word is] macaron,” he said, referring to the delicate French biscuit. “I just like what it means.” 

He added: “I think ew is interesting because it expresses something new about what we’re seeing in language, which is to say that we are now incorporating more of what you might call transcribed speech.” 

If you’re looking for tips to beat fellow family members this December, then you should know that a few high scorers are now up for grabs, including bizjet. Haven’t heard of it? Join the club. But it refers to a small plane used for business (as you do) but if you play it as a plural, would score you 120 points - due to the 50-point bonus for using all seven tiles and the double word bonus space usually played at the start.

Need to get some practice in before the big family game this Christmas? Check out some of the UK’s best boardgame cafes here.

Images: Unsplash / Getty

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Susan Devaney

Susan Devaney is a digital journalist for Stylist.co.uk, writing about fashion, beauty, travel, feminism, and everything else in-between.

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