Scrabble players are apoplectic over game’s new words
They’re not saying “yeehaw!”
Scrabble pros told The Post they’re miffed about the addition of more than 500 new words to the game’s official dictionary, griping that the newbies – such as yeehaw (15 points) – do little for them or the sport.
“Additions to the wordlist have zero effect on the game itself, hardly any effect on the play of the game, and only a very small effect on the players who have to learn them,” huffed former world champ Joel Sherman. “I see nothing … that will have even a small fraction of the impact on game play that the additions of QI and ZA had years ago,” Sherman added.
The new adds have received plenty of hype, but several players said that it’ll be months before the North American Scrabble Players Association, whose own wordlist governs stateside competitions, is finished vetting this batch for competitive play.
Scrabblers also noted that many “new” words are not so new after all, like Dumpster (13 points), which had until now been considered a trademark versus a generic word for a trash receptacle.
“Dumpster has been a word in our dictionary for … a long time,” said top-ranking player César Del Solar, 38. “I guess it got generic enough that Merriam-Webster [added it].”
The 500 new options range from industry jargon (fintech, 15 points), to cuisines (the spice zaatar, 15 points), to the niche and obscure (hogsbane, or giant hogweed, 17 points).
“I guess we have to learn a new set,” sighed Fran Shaw, 78, who feels the new additions are coming “too quickly” after the last update in 2018. “They added jedi? Oy.”
Scrabble officials noted that some of the new words, like the old-fashioned ‘yeehaw,’ were more often spoken than written, and had simply been overlooked.
“The gold standard for dictionary editing was always written evidence,” said Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster’s editor at large, who helped select the new additions. “So a term like yeehaw, which we all know from our childhood and in movies and TV, was something you heard. You didn’t read it that often.”
But not every Scrabble savant is all “welp” (another new one, 9 points) about the new terms.
“There’s lots of cool words in here,” said Stefan Fatsis, 59, author of “Word Freak” and a competitive Scrabble player, noting that the slang term “fav” will be a lifesaver for anyone looking to drop the annoying, clunky letter “v.”
“I found these updates to be delightful”, he added, “because they reflect the sort of the endless march of the English language.”
“Some of my favorites are zonkey and zedonk,” said Del Solar, referring to the terms for donkey-zebra hybrids. “They look fun, they have z’s and everything.”
With Post wires.
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