Prepare for a beatdown, sheeple! Is Scrabble’s latest dictionary update OK or frowny?


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Word up

The first big update to The Official Scrabble Player’s Dictionary in four years is a controversial one, as the list of words legal to play in the spelling board game grows by 300 new additions – including some sure to spark debate around the table.

Merriam-Webster has put out the official tome of legal words since the mid-‘70s; this year’s edition also marks 70 years of Scrabble itself.

One of the most contentious 2018 additions is also one of the simplest, as ‘OK’ finally becomes okay to use – despite the word’s oft-cited origins as an abbreviation of ‘orl korrect’ by picky players.

“OK is something Scrabble players have been waiting for, for a long time,” said Merriam-Webster editor-at-large Peter Sokolowski, acknowledging the decision’s potential to impact matches: “Basically two- and three-letter words are the lifeblood of the game.”

OK isn’t the only game-changing inclusion in the list. Qapik – which you’ll all know is a unit of currency in Azerbaijan – extends the very small pool of 20 words which start with a ‘Q’ but don’t use a ‘U’, making the addition “a big deal” according to Sokolowski.

“Most of these are obscure,” he added.

Some of the other words joining the 100,000-plus-strong list of playable words were revealed earlier this year, including ‘ew’, ‘puggle’, ‘facepalm’, ‘macaron’ and ‘sriracha’.

Others included in the 2018 update to The Official Scrabble Player’s Dictionary are 'bestie', ‘beatdown’, ‘sheeple’, ‘frowny’, ‘wayback’ and ‘zomboid’. Not to mention ‘twerk’ – the type of dance that originally emerged in the 1980s but came to prominence in recent years thanks to Miley Cyrus, among others.

If you’re among those rolling your eyes at these latest modern additions, there is some good news: the Player’s Dictionary position as the Scrabble word bible in the US means that none of the words have officially been legalised for those of us playing here in the UK. That list of words won’t be updated until the next edition of Collins' Official Scrabble Words is released next year.

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