September 24, 2018 / 7:33 PM / 3 months ago

Secret to Scrabble beatdown: 300 words added to game's dictionary

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Ew. Just when you’ve mastered enough legitimate Scrabble words to beat your bestie on the game board and twerk in victory, Merriam-Webster has released a sixth edition of The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

FILE PHOTO; Letters from a scrabble game are seen in this illustration picture in Ljubljana, Slovenia, November 15, 2012. REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic/File Photo

The newest dictionary for Scrabble, the popular board game in which players use lettered tiles to spell words, includes more than 300 new entries, including “ew,” defined as an expression of disgust; “bestie,” a best friend, and “twerk,” which is a dance that involves shaking your buttocks while squatting.

The player’s dictionary, published by Merriam-Webster, is the gauntlet thrown down when one player questions the validity of another’s word play. If the challenged word is not found in its pages, the player loses a turn.

The beloved board game is made by Hasbro Inc, based in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

The arsenal in the update released on Monday also includes “beatdown,” defined as an overwhelming defeat; “bizjet,” a small airplane used for business; and “frowny,” which unsurprisingly means showing a frown.

While some additions skew toward younger players, others exude the sophistication of an international traveler. Those include arancini, which Italian food aficionados will recognize as balls of cooked rice, and qapik, a monetary unit used in Azerbaijan.

“It’s a way to keep Scrabble fun instead of contentious,” said Emily Brewster, associate editor at Merriam-Webster. “It’s a great moderator in a game that can get pretty impassioned.”

Her favorite new addition, she said, is qapik, because it begins with “Q,” a high-scoring tile in the game, but doesn’t require being followed by the usual “U” to complete the word.

“It’s really exciting for Scrabble players. It’s a pretty great edition,” Brewster said.

The game that would eventually be called Scrabble was invented by Alfred Butts, a jobless architect during the Depression, in his apartment in the Queens borough of New York City. It started out slow but gained enduring popularity after it was discovered at a resort in 1952 by a vacationing Macy’s executive, who arranged to have the game sold in the world’s largest store.

Merriam-Webster, based in Massachusetts, issued the first Scrabble dictionary in 1976 and since then has put out updates every four to eight years.

Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by David Gregorio

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