Odd Scrabble Words

Odd Scrabble Words

It’s a funny thing, Scrabble. Being a person who loves words and all that goes with them, I should love it. I don’t. It’s OK for a bit of a laugh – and I suppose that’s what it’s supposed to be – but I find that I don’t get enough laughs out of it to keep playing for the requisite six hours, or however long it takes. I probably wouldn’t mind so much if it were possible to learn something from playing, but the idea seems to be just to know the words, rather than their meanings. Many Scrabble references, both official and unofficial, simply list the legitimate words with not even a brief description of their meanings. In order to redress this, I will do a post or two on some of the more unusual words and supply as many definitions for them as I can. This site is in no way connected to Scrabble (I say this because I can sense their legal attack dogs being unleashed).

Two-letter words: Yes, there are (quite) a few. Probably handy for those triple word score squares, or something:

Nu: Pronounced Noo. This was, according to Egyptian creationist theory, the swirling, watery abyss from which cosmic order was formed. It is also the thirteenth letter of the Greek alphabet.

Os: In entomological terms, a mouth or mouth-like opening. Would probably be used by some smartarse to make a bigger word and make your score look rubbish.

Ya: A Sanskrit letter representing the soul. I can begin to see why the players don’t bother – when would I ever use that in a sentence (apart from this one)?

On to three-letter words now. Obviously, those with Q, X or Z in them are going to be the most well-rehearsed, but there are others that are interesting if your only goal isn’t outscoring someone on a triple-letter square:

Bos: Cattle, both wild and domestic. Also the Dutch word for “woods”.

Jag: A sharp projection (as in jagged), a slit in a dress or other item of clothing which reveals a different colour beneath and a slang word for a drug-taking or heavy drinking session. It’s also a verb, meaning “to cut a jagged edge into”.

Qat: Another last bastion of the terminally smug Scrabblista (yes, it’s a made up word). Refers to the leaves of the shrub catha edulis, chewed as a mild euphoric stimulant and is also the principal god in the mythology of the Banks Islands in Vanuatu.

Vug: Holes in rocks. More specifically, a cavity or pore in a rock usually formed when rock crystals grow and are then eroded or washed away, leaving a void.

Well, there it is, Scrabble fans. I know what a passionate bunch you can be, so if you’re going to post a riposte, please keep certain three- or four-letter words to a minimum.

7 comments

  1. I hate playing Scrabble against the machine, because it cheats, it uses foreign words and proper nouns and words it makes up itself. It’s more interesting if you play with the Polish version.

  2. I agree – but the words are all “official”. They often use things like “JATO” and “OS” (Jet-Assisted Take Off and Operating System). They’re not really words, are they?

    I imagine the “Z” isn’t worth quite so much in Polish Scrabble :-)

  3. sage madrone

    I have bee playng th conputer at smart level ad have bee keeping alist of odd words th computer uses to play. I love the ida o yo site. I want more. I am addicted to scrrbble. Sag

  4. Thanks for the comment, Sag. Glad you enjoy the site :-)

  5. Another favorite word is ADZE…..a saw.

  6. I never knew that those words exist. Playing scrabble is one of my favorite board game. And thanks of course, for those newly added words to my scrabble vocabulary. Cheers!

  7. Glad to have been of service Bee :-) Remember to drink to my health the next time you wipe the floor with someone on account of a three-letter word from this list!

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