Hey, Scrabble fans! There’s a bit of a fuss today about the latest revision of the Collins Official Scrabble Words book. Apparently about 3,000 new words have been added to the list (of about a quarter of a million), including ‘thang’, ‘grrl’ and ‘innit’. John Humphrys, predictably, is livid.
He should be grateful that things aren’t even worse – Elaine Higgleton of Collins Language told this morning’s Today programme that the dictionary compilers are actually loath to include words that are not likely to endure. She said: “One of the things that Scrabble players don’t like to do is to unlearn words, so If they’ve been playing with a word for five or ten years, they really hate to have to unlearn it if it’s taken out of the dictionary at a later stage.”
Personally I think they’re pretty safe with ‘grrl’, ‘thang’ and ‘innit’ – all of which have been around for a while and will probably continue to be. How my view on this matter develops will largely depend on whether it is me or my sister-in-law who has just scored a zillion points for ‘grrl’ on a triple word score (and yes, zillion is a valid word). And don’t even get me started on the rule change to allow proper nouns.
Humphrys says “it ruins it if you put in all these words that people in the real oworld have never heard of”. You heard it here first: John Humphrys lives in the real world and anyone who has ever said innit, does not.
Incidentally, one of the lists of words used for Scrabble is known as SOWPODS which, brilliantly, is an anagram of two abbreviations: OSW (Official Scrabble Words) and Official Scrabble Players Dictionary (OSPD). My suggestion for the next word to add to SOWPODS is SOWPODS.