After staunchly holding on to a decade-old list of words allowed for permissible play in SCRABBLE, Hasbro's Merriam-Webster language reference publisher has finally released the fifth edition of The Official SCRABBLE Players Dictionary, which now includes a term referring to everyone's favorite activity on social media: "selfie."
Merriam-Webster is officially playing catch up with the evolution of the English language by adding 5,000 recently-coined words in its SCRABBLE dictionary. Aside from "selfie," Merriam-Webster also included "geocache," the first SCRABBLE word to be voted for inclusion by fans at the 2014 SCRABBLE Word Showdown, which refers to games that require players to use GPS systems to look for objects or people.
Among other tech-savvy terms included in the new dictionary are high scorers such as "beatbox," "vlog," "mixtape," "vodcast," "texter" and "webzine." But while the new dictionary has gone increasingly Web 2.0, Merriam-Webster also made entries for new alcoholic treats, such as the Korea-derived "soju" and the Mexican "mojito," and even millennial interjections, such as "meh," "oof," "yessiree" and "aiyee." And for players who take their gameplay seriously, Merriam-Webster says they can leave their opponents in a trail of dust by scoring 401 points with "quinzhee," a word that refers to a temporary shelter made by digging out a hole in a pile of snow. Not that SCRABBLE players are required to know what the word means, though.
"Language is constantly evolving and new words are added to Merriam-Webster dictionaries on an ongoing basis," says Peter Sokolowski, editor at Merriam-Webster. "Now thousands of those words can officially be played on the SCRABBLE game board, as long as they meet the SCRABBLE game's criteria for length and styling."
For a word to be included in the The Official SCRABBLE Player's Dictionary, it must be included in a standard dictionary. Also, it must not be a capitalized word, an abbreviation or a word that contains hyphens or apostrophes. It must also be at least two to eight characters in length. Each new entry to the Merriam-Webster SCRABBLE comes with a part-of-speech label, a definition and word inflections.
The North American SCRABBLE Players Association (NASPA) endorses The Official SCRABBLE Players Dictionary, which hits bookstore shelves on Wednesday, although official players at the 2014 National SCRABBLE Championship in New York will not be able to use "bromance," "chillax," "dubstep" and "buzzkill" just yet as the Fifth Edition is still sanctioned for official use in tournaments and clubs in December.
Merriam-Webster will also release an electronic version of the dictionary for iOS and Android devices and is partnering with Electronic Arts, which is said to incorporate the new edition into its SCRABBLE game later this year.