Lynne Murphy lynnem at COGS.SUSX.AC.UK
Thu Nov 30 11:15:36 UTC 2000

> > >Well, I can tell you it's not a legal Scrabble word in England.  Too
> What determines which words are legal in British Scrabble?
> A Scrabble-playing colleague told me that there is an official Scrabble
> dictionary used in the US.
> He said that in Britain, any word listed in the OED is acceptable: is he
> mistaken?
> (I suppose he's speaking of tournament play.)

The OED is irrelevant to British Scrabble, although it may have been used long
ago.  The official dictionary for UK Scrabble is Chambers.  They put out
'Official Scrabble Words' (OSW4) so that you have all the
inflections/derivations of headwords that are legal play.

However, this is about to change.  In January, we start switching over to the
'world dictionary' (also known as SOWPODS) which includes all the words from
the OSW4 and OTCWL, the US tournament/club official dictionary, published by
Merriam-Webster.  (This is not the same as the 'official Scrabble dictionary'
that Merriam-Webster sells in shops.  You have to be a member of the National
Scrabble Assn to buy OTCWL, because it has --yikes!-- bad words in it!)

The North American Natl Scrabble Assn voted against the world dictionary last
year.  (But the Americans had much more to lose by joining dictionaries than
the British--the American game is much different, more strategic, than the
British, and the addition of two-letter Z and Q words would have really
changed the spirit of the game.)

Don't you feel enriched by this knowledge?  How did you live without it


Dr M Lynne Murphy
Lecturer in Linguistics
School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9QH

phone +44-(0)1273-678844
fax   +44-(0)1273-671320

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