I saw this recent story about Scrabble featured on the NPR website and honestly, found it quite horrifying. In essence, the maintainers of the official Scrabble word list have added quite a few words that, well, certainly aren’t what I’d call real words.
The most egregious examples include “lolz” (you’re kidding, right?), “lotsa”, “newb”, “obvs”, “pwn” (this is actually a misspelling of an existing word, “own”, not a word of its own), “wuz” (oh come on), “cazh”, “cinq” (I thought there was a rule against foreign words?), “wojus” (another foreign word), “zeda” (supposedly, this means “grandfather” somewhere, but not in the English I was taught), “ridic” (Scrabble isn’t text messaging, people), and “shizzle”. Somewhat more reasonable are a few additions like “podiumed”, “devo”, “geocache”, “hashtag”, “showrooming”, and “checkbox”. I can even see the logic behind “cakehole” making the list. But this doesn’t offset in the least the number of non-word turds that will now be tournament-legal Scrabble plays.
Look, I hate drawing letters like Q, X, or Z in a game of Scrabble as much as almost anyone else who hasn’t memorized the list of words with those letters in them. It’s one thing to put some of these words in a real dictionary, but another entirely to call them legal Scrabble plays. To me, Scrabble has always been about real English, not idiot babble, half-assed abbreviations, and obviously foreign words. Allowing “lolz”, “wuz”, and “ridic” is just the first few feet on a very slippery slope. (At least some of the time, retribution is possible given the right hand: adding “ulous” to the end of “ridic” and hitting a triple word score in the process would certainly be an appropriate response on someone who dared play it.)
There is still a small chance that WESPA (the World English Scrabble Players Association) and/or NASPA (the North American Scrabble Players Association) will veto some of the new words this coming September. I’m not holding my breath, but it is technically possible.