Selfie? Vlog? Not Everyone Loves New Scrabble Words

PHOTO: Hasbros Scrabble board game is seen Jan. 9, 2008.
Share
Copy

Scrabble purists aren’t convinced new words like “selfie,” “frenemy” and “bromance” deserve to be on the board.

But those are among the more than 5,000 new words the game has added to its official dictionary. And while some people welcome the familiar slang, not everyone is happy about the additions.

"They're taking their cues from youth users of the language who are kind of sloppy and lazy and in a hurry," Joel Sherman, a former world champion Scrabble player, told ABC News today. "It seems to me that a collegiate-level dictionary doesn't need to define words that are already known to users."

Scrabblers, Rejoice: 5,000 New Words Are on the Way

Scrabble Dictionary Adds New Fan-Voted Word

Players are also sounding off on the "ridiculous" words on social media. A common response on Twitter? "Ugh."

But rules are rules, Sherman added.

"In terms of playing Scrabble, whatever's in the book I'm going to learn and I'm going to play," said Sherman, who lives in New York City.

And plenty of other players are thrilled with the new words, which mean more chances to win, according to Robin Pollock Daniel, a Scrabble expert and the game’s top-rated female player in North America.

“People like myself don’t think of them as words. We think of them as playing pieces,” Daniel, who lives in Toronto, told ABC News today. “So you have more arsenal.”

She added that the new words make the game more inclusive. The technology-related words already popular among youth could attract younger players. And some of the new words are specific to certain cultures, like “zeda,” which she explains is a Yiddish word for grandfather.

“It allows people from other cultures to be accepted,” she said.

Daniel said there will always be people who shun new Scrabble words, but says the changing rules are what make the game exciting.

“What distinguishes Scrabble from many classical games is that it reflects changing vocabulary over time,” she said. “Chess doesn’t add any new playing pieces, backgammon doesn’t add any new pips. But Scrabble is constantly adding new pieces in the form of words.

“It’s a dynamic game.”

Other new words that will appear in the fifth edition of The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, releasing Wednesday, include beatbox (imitate the sounds of a drum machine), chillax (calm down and relax), mojito (a rum and mint cocktail), yuzu (Asian fruit) and oof (ouch).

That last word is of particular interest to Daniel.

“Before, if you played ‘of,’ you couldn’t put anything on top of it,” she said. “But we can play ‘oof’ now!”

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...