A few years ago, words such as bae and adorbs were not part of our vocabulary, but today, these are words that slip into conversation without us even realising that they are new additions. Similarly, these words also make it to our Scrabble boards when playing a game with family or friends, and have now been added to the official Scrabble dictionary.
Over 500 words were added to the seventh edition of the dictionary just last week, which includes terms popularised in slang and current affairs, as well as food items. In addition to this, words from foreign languages frequently used in English have also been added to the dictionary, such as carnitas and horchata, as well as iftar.
The seventh edition was released by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, and this is the first set of additions since 2018. The Merriam-Webster dictionary shared ten of the 500 new words added to the dictionary, along with their definitions.
Definition: A person whom one loves
Very short words that are also vowel dumps are valuable for Scrabble players, and bae offers a chance for some quick strategic plays, and an S tile can be added to make this noun plural (and, who knows, playing this word might just endear you to your opponent).
Definition: To give a vaccine to
Another three-letter word gives some flexibility for the use of the high-point letter X. Vax is a verb that is a variant of vaxx, so the conjugations vaxed, vaxing, vaxes, or vaxxed, vaxxing, vaxxes are all playable. A similar new pair of variants including X is dox and doxx, meaning “to publish private information about a person”.
Definition: A native of Puerto Rico
Scrabble strategy is not just about forming words with lots of vowels. Seven-letter words are especially valuable as a “bingo” for a 50-point bonus. A newly playable seven-letter word spelled with four different vowels like Boricua (pronounced boh-REE-kwah) is a valuable asset to find on your rack.
Definition: To use as a verb
Changes in playability of words for Scrabble are often direct results of how the dictionary treats a given word. Case in point: The venerable word “verb” is now categorised itself as a verb, meaning that verbed and verbing are now playable. This phenomenon extends to other words newly verbed in this edition, including adult, torrent, spitball, and retweet.
Definition: A hybrid between a zebra and a donkey
A new chance to play the Z tile is newsworthy for Scrabble players, and in this case they have added a few words for this hybrid animal, including zedonk and zeedonk – all terms that are, so to speak, worth their stripes.
Definition: A large container for trash
It’s possible that you’ve played dumpster in the past and have been successfully challenged, a frustrating experience. Until now, this term was categorised as a trademark in the dictionary – the capital D made it unavailable for play. But now, like other words that started out as trademarks (escalator is one; both xerox and google are playable as verbs), it too is a playable noun.
Definition: A word that forms another word when viewed another way
Words about words are perfect for Scrabble players, and this newly playable term refers to words that have a visual symmetry (think of mom and wow), often when presented upside-down or at 180 degrees. In addition to this way of calling how a word is seen, they have also added a new word about how they are heard, eggcorn, meaning “a word that sounds like and is mistaken for another word,” often in song lyrics.
Definition: To enlarge
Building upon existing words is a big part of Scrabble strategy, whether you build from your rack or from letters already on the board. Adding five letters to “big” to create embiggen (and possibly embiggened or embiggening) makes for new ways to think about building from a common word. Other new terms that embiggen the playable word list by adding parts to existing words include unmalted, juicery, babymoon, unfollow, unmute, and subtweet.
Definition: A small porpoise; the smallest living cetacean in the world
Along with Z, the letter Q has the highest point value in the game, so it’s good news for players that it can be used with a new combination of letters. As with so many Q words, a U is also needed here, which is also true of another new addition: Queso.
Definition: An image or audio that has been altered to misrepresent someone’s words or actions
Eight-letter words allow players to bingo – play seven letters together – and hook to a letter already on the board. Deepfake might add some psychology to the tactics of your game: imagine the demoralising effect of playing this term and having your opponent challenge it, only to learn that it’s now allowed.