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Scrabble Dictionary Gets 5,000 New Words, Including “Chillax,” "Dubstep" and Yes, "Selfie"

Welcome to the future.

Keith PlocekWelcome to the future.

Every Scrabble player worth her salt (4 points) knows the value of two-letter words. Those little terms can really get you out of a jam (12) and block out your opponent. So when “da” was removed from the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary a while back, there was uproar (8) all over the English-speaking world.

The Scrabble Dictionary is compiled from extant (13) collegiate dictionaries, and the only listing the volunteers in the dictionary committee of the North American Scrabble Players Association could find for “da” referenced its use in Italian names like “da Vinci.” Scrabble words need to be freestanding in English, so “da” got the boot (6).

Thankfully those dark ages are over, as Merriam-Webster just announced 5,000 new words for the fifth edition (8) of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, including “te,” “gi,” “po” and “da,” which is now listed in a qualifying dictionary as a synonym for “dad.” It had been nine years since the last update (9), an eternity in the era of text messaging.

“This particular decade has been so rich in new words, especially from technology,” Peter Sokolowski, editor (7) at Merriam-Webster, tells L.A. Weekly.

Among the 5,000 new possibilities are digital (9) terms such as “hashtag,” “selfie,” “vlog,” “webzine,” “texter” and “geocache.”

But they aren’t all about bytes (10). Bro culture will be pleased (10) with “chillax,” “frenemy,” “buzzkill,” “dubstep” and “bromance.” Sokolowski emphasizes that dictionaries are meant to be descriptive of real usage (6), so don’t judge him for those. And we're also believers that language is fluid (9), so just chillax, OK?

“Mojito” and “soju” are among the foreign (11) inclusions that are now considered part of English. Good job normalizing those new and interesting ways to get drunk, North America.

Sokolowski’s favorite new term (8) is “qajaq,” which is an alternate spelling for “kayak” that will help you dump that “q” without worrying about having a “u,” as long as you have a blank for that extra "q."

Because eff “u.”


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