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Encyclopedia > Scrabble
The verb "to scrabble" also means to scratch, scramble or scrape about: see Wiktionary:scrabble.
A game of Scrabble in progress
A game of Scrabble in progress
Players 2-4
Age range 8+
Setup time 2-5 minutes
Playing time NSA tournament game: ~50 minutes
Random chance Medium
Skills required Counting, Strategy, Vocabulary, Spelling

Scrabble is a popular word game and board game in which two to four players score points by forming words from individual lettered tiles on a 15-by-15 game board. The words are formed across and down in crossword fashion and must appear in a standard dictionary. Official reference works (e.g. The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, now in its 4th edition) that provide a list of permissible words, some of which are rarely found in standard English writing, are also available. Scrabble board in play Photo taken 12/30/2004 by Jeremy Kemp. ... The National Scrabble Association was created in 1978 by Selchow & Righter, then the makers of Scrabble, to promote their game. ... Euclid, Greek mathematician, 3rd century BC, as imagined by by Raphael in this detail from The School of Athens. ... A strategy is a long term plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal, most often winning. Strategy is differentiated from tactics or immediate actions with resources at hand. ... A vocabulary is a set of words known to a person or other entity, or that are part of a specific language. ... Proper spelling is the writing of a word or words with all necessary letters and diacritics present in an accepted standard order. ... A word game or word puzzle can be of several different types: // [edit] Letter arrangement games The goal is to form words out of given letters. ... A board game is a game played with counters or pieces that are placed on, removed from, or moved across a board (a premarked surface, usually specific to that game). ... A crossword is a word puzzle that normally takes the form of a square grid of black and white squares. ... This article includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ...

The name Scrabble is a trademark of Hasbro, Inc. in the US and Canada and of J. W. Spear & Sons PLC elsewhere. Scrabble was a trademark of Murfett Regency in Australia, until 1993 when it was acquired by Spear. The game is also known as Alfapet, Funworder, Skip-A-Cross and Palabras Cruzadas. For other senses of this word, see Trademark (disambiguation). ... Hasbro (NYSE: HAS) is an American toy and game company. ... Motto: (Out Of Many, One) (traditional) In God We Trust (1956 to date) Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington D.C. Largest city New York City None at federal level (English de facto) Government Federal constitutional republic  - President George Walker Bush (R)  - Vice President Dick Cheney (R) Independence from... Categories: Possible copyright violations ... Year 1993 (MCMXCIII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full 1993 Gregorian calendar). ...

The game is sold in 121 countries in 29 different language versions. One hundred million sets have been sold worldwide, and sets are found in one out of every three American homes.[1][2]



In 1938, architect Alfred Mosher Butts created the game as a variation on an earlier word game he invented called Lexiko. The two games had the same set of letter tiles, whose distributions and point values Butts worked out meticulously by counting letter usage from various sources including The New York Times. The new game, which he called "Criss-Crosswords", added the 15-by-15 game board and the crossword-style game play. He manufactured a few sets himself, but was not successful in selling the game to any major game manufacturers of the day.[3] Alfred Mosher Butts (April 13, 1899 - April 4, 1993) was a U.S. architect and the inventor of the board game Scrabble in 1938. ... Lexiko was a word game invented by Alfred Mosher Butts. ... The New York Times is a daily newspaper published in New York City by Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. ...

In 1948, lawyer James Brunot[4], a resident of Newtown, Connecticut, bought the rights to manufacture the game in exchange for granting Butts a royalty on every unit sold. Though he left most of the game (including the distribution of letters) unchanged, Brunot slightly rearranged the "premium" squares of the board and simplified the rules; he also changed the name of the game to "Scrabble", a real word which means "to grope frantically," and sold sets to, among other customers, Macy's department store, which created a demand for the game.[3] Newtown is a town in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. ... Macys is a chain of moderate to upscale American department stores with its flagship store in Herald Square, New York City, which has been billed as the worlds largest store since completion of the Seventh Avenue addition in 1924. ... The interior of a typical Macys department store. ...

In 1953, unable to meet demand himself, Brunot sold manufacturing rights to Selchow and Righter (one of the manufacturers who, like Parker Brothers and Milton Bradley Company, had previously rejected the game). J. W. Spear & Sons began selling the game in Australia and the UK on January 19, 1955. They are now a subsidiary of Mattel, Inc.[3] In 1986, Selchow and Righter sold the game to Coleco, who soon after sold the game to Hasbro.[3] A New York game company founded in 1867[1]. Their biggest successes have all been licensed games. ... The Parker Brothers logo. ... For the Oakland Athletics outfielder, see Milton Bradley (baseball player) The Milton Bradley Company is an American game company established by Milton Bradley in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1860. ... Categories: Possible copyright violations ... January 19 is the 19th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1955 (MCMLV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays the 1955 Gregorian calendar). ... Mattel Inc. ... Year 1986 (MCMLXXXVI) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link displays 1986 Gregorian calendar). ... Coleco (1932 - 1989) was a company founded in 1932 by Maurice Greenberg as Connecticut Leather Company. It became a highly successful toy company in the 1980s, known for its mass-produced version of Cabbage Patch Kids and, to a lesser extent, for its video game consoles Coleco Telstar and ColecoVision. ... Hasbro (NYSE: HAS) is an American toy and game company. ...

Game details

The board of the deciding game in the World Scrabble Championship 2005.
The board of the deciding game in the World Scrabble Championship 2005.
A full English-language set.
A full English-language set.

The game is played by two to four players on a square (or nearly square) board with a 15-by-15 grid of cells (individually known as "squares"), each of which accommodates a single letter tile. In official club and tournament games, play is always between two players (or, occasionally, between two teams each of which collaborates on a single rack). Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 779 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2494 × 1920 pixel, file size: 3. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 779 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2494 × 1920 pixel, file size: 3. ... Format The World Scrabble Championship 2005 will be held in the Marriott Regents Park Hotel, London, England between 16 November and 20 November. ... Image File history File links Scrabble_tiles_en. ... Image File history File links Scrabble_tiles_en. ...

The game contains 100 tiles: 98 are each marked with a letter and the point value of that letter; and there are two blank tiles, which are unmarked and carry no point value. The blank tiles can be used as substitutes for any letter; once laid on the board, however, the choice is fixed. The number of points of each lettered tile depend on the letter's frequency in standard English writing; commonly used letters such as E or O are worth one point, while less common letters score higher, with Q and Z each worth 10 points. The board is marked with "premium" squares, which multiply the amount of points awarded: dark red "triple-word" squares, pink "double-word" squares, dark blue "triple-letter" squares, and light blue "double-letter" squares. The center square (H8) is often marked with a star or logo, and counts as a double-word square.

Further information: Scrabble letter distributions

Many editions of the word board game Scrabble vary in the letter distribution of the tiles, because the frequency of each letter of the alphabet is different for every language. ...

Notation system

In the notation system common in tournament play, columns are labeled "A-O" and rows "1-15". A play is usually identified in the format xy WORD score or WORD xy score (also yx word format), where: x denotes the column or row on which the play's main word extends; y denotes the second coordinate of the main word's first letter, and WORD is the main word. Although unnecessary, additional words formed by the play are occasionally listed after the main word and a slash. In the case where the play of a single tile formed words in each direction, one of the words is arbitrarily chosen to serve as the main word for purposes of notation.

When a blank tile is employed in the main word, the letter it has been chosen to represent is indicated with a lower case letter, or, in handwritten notation, with a square around the letter. Parentheses are sometimes also used to designate a blank, although this may create confusion with a second (optional) function of parentheses, namely indication of an existing letter or word that has been "played through" by the main word.

Example 1:

A(D)DITiON(AL) D3 74

(played through the existing letter D and word AL, using a blank for the second I, extending down the D column and beginning on row 3, and scoring 74 points)

Sequence of play

Before the game, the letter tiles are either put in an opaque bag or placed face down on a flat surface. Opaque cloth bags and custom Protiles are staples of clubs and tournaments, where games are rarely played without both.

Next, players decide the order in which they play. According to National Scrabble Association (NSA) tournament rules, players who have gone first in the fewest number of games in the tournament have priority, or failing that, those who have gone second the most. In the case of a tie (reverting to the Scrabble "box" rules), players instead draw tiles, then reveal them. The player who picks the letter closest to the beginning of the alphabet goes first (with blank tiles ranked higher than A's), and redraw in the case of a tie. The National Scrabble Association was created in 1978 by Selchow & Righter, then the makers of Scrabble, to promote their game. ...

At the beginning of the game, and after each turn until the bag is empty (or until there are no more face-down tiles), players draw tiles to replenish their "racks", or tile-holders, with seven tiles, from which they will make plays. Each rack is concealed from the other players.

During a turn, a player will have seven or fewer letter tiles in their rack from which to choose a play. On each turn, a player has the option to: (1) pass, forfeiting the turn and scoring nothing; (2) exchange one or more tiles for an equal number from the bag, scoring nothing, an option which is only available if at least seven tiles remain in the bag; or (3) form a play on the board, adding its value to the player's cumulative score.

A proper play uses any number of the player's tiles to form a single continuous word ("main word") on the board, reading either left-to-right or top-to-bottom. The main word must either use the letters of one or more previously played words, or else have at least one of its tiles horizontally or vertically adjacent to an already played word. If words other than the main word are newly formed by the play, they are scored as well, and are subject to the same criteria for acceptability.

When the board is blank, the first word played must cover H8, the center square. The word must consist of at least two letters, extending horizontally or vertically. H8 is a premium square, so the first player to play a word receives a double score.

A blank tile may take the place of any letter. It remains as that letter thereafter for the rest of the game. Individually, it scores no points regardless of what letter it is designated, and is not itself affected by premium tiles. However, its placement on a double-word or triple-word square does cause the appropriate premium to be scored for the word in which it is used. While not part of official or tournament play, a common "house rule" allows players to "recycle" blank tiles by later substituting the corresponding letter tile.

After playing a word, the player draws letter tiles from the bag to replenish his rack to seven tiles. If there are not enough tiles in the bag to do so, the player takes all of the remaining tiles.

After a player plays a word, his opponent may choose to challenge any or all the words formed by the play. If any of the words challenged is found to be unacceptable, the play is removed from the board, the player returns the newly played tiles to his rack, and his turn is forfeited. In tournament play, a challenge is to the entire play rather than any one word, so a judge (human or computer) is used, and players are not entitled to know which word or words caused the challenge to succeed. Penalties for unsuccessfully challenging an acceptable play vary within club and tournament play, and are described in greater detail below.

With North American rules, the game ends when (1) one player plays every tile in his rack, and there are no tiles remaining in the bag (regardless of the tiles in his opponent's rack); or (2) when six successive scoreless turns have occurred and at least one word is on the board.

When the game ends, each player's score is reduced by the sum of his/her unplayed letters. In addition, if a player has used all of his or her letters, the sum of the other player's unplayed letters is added to that player's score; in tournament play, a player who "goes out" adds double this sum, and the opponent is not penalized.

Scoreless turns can occur when an illegal word is challenged off the board, when a player passes, when a player exchanges tiles, or when a word consists only of blank tiles. This latter rule varies slightly in international play.


Each word formed in the play is scored this way:

  • Any tile played from the player's rack onto a previously vacant square that is a "double-letter" or "triple-letter" premium square has its point value doubled or tripled as indicated.
  • Add the normal point value of every other letter (excluding blanks) in the word (whether newly played or existing).
  • For each newly played tile placed on a "double-word" premium square, the total is doubled (or redoubled).
  • For each newly placed tile placed on a "triple-word" premium square, the total is tripled (or re-tripled).
  • Premium squares affect the score of each word made in the same play by constituent tiles played upon those squares. Premium squares, once played upon, are not counted again in subsequent plays.

If a player uses all seven of the tiles in his rack in a single play, a bonus of 50 points is added to the score of that play (this is called a "bingo" in Canada and the United States, and a "bonus" elsewhere). These bonus points are not affected by premium squares. Bingo is a slang term used in Scrabble when a player uses all seven letters in one play. ...

Acceptable words

Acceptable words are those words found as primary entries in some chosen dictionary, and all of their inflected forms. Words that are hyphenated, capitalized (such as proper nouns), marked as foreign, or appear only as part of multi-word phrases (such as "brac" from "bric-à-brac") are not allowed, unless they also appear as acceptable entries: "Jack" is a proper noun, but the word JACK is acceptable because it has other usages (automotive, vexillological, etc.) that are acceptable. Acronyms or abbreviations, other than those that have been regularized (such as AWOL, RADAR, and SCUBA), are not allowed. Variant spellings, slang or offensive terms, archaic or obsolete terms, and specialized jargon words are allowed if they meet all other criteria for acceptability. This article includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... Inflection of the Spanish lexeme for cat, with blue representing the masculine gender, pink representing the feminine gender, grey representing the form used for mixed-gender, and green representing the plural number. ... Look up Jack, jack in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

There are two popular competition word lists used in various parts of the world. The North American 2006 Official Tournament and Club Word List, Second Edition (OWL2), which became official for use in American, Canadian, Israeli and Thai club and tournament play on March 1, 2006 (or, for school use, the bowdlerized Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, Fourth Edition (OSPD4)). Early printings of OWL2 and OSPD4 must be amended according to corrigenda posted at the National Scrabble Association web site. North American competitions use the Long Words List for longer words. Thomas Bowdler (July 11, 1754 – February 24, 1825), an English physician, who published The Family Shakespeare, is best known as the source of the eponym bowdlerize (or bowdlerise[1]), the process of expurgation, censorship by removal, of material thought to be unacceptable to the intended audience, especially children or religious... The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary or OSPD is a dictionary developed for use in the game Scrabble. ...

The OWL2 and the OSPD4 are compiled using four (originally five) major college-level dictionaries, including Merriam-Webster (10th and 11th editions, respectively). If a word appears (or historically appeared) in at least one of the dictionaries, it is included in the OWL2 and the OSPD4, unless the word has only an offensive meaning or is used only as a trademark, in which case it is only included in the OWL2. The key difference between the OSPD4 and the OWL2 is that the OSPD4 is marketed for "home and school" use, and has been expurgated of many words which their source dictionaries judged offensive, rendering the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary less fit for official Scrabble play. The OSPD4 is available in bookstores, whereas the OWL2 is only available from the National Scrabble Association to current members. The National Scrabble Association was created in 1978 by Selchow & Righter, then the makers of Scrabble, to promote their game. ...

In all other countries the competition word list is the Tournament and Club Word List (Collins) published in May 2007, which lists all words from 2 to 15 letters and is thus a complete reference. This list contains every word in the OWL2 mentioned above plus words sourced from Chambers and Collins English Dictionaries. This book is used to adjudicate at the World Scrabble Championship and all other major international competitions outside of North America. The World Scrabble Championship is the most prestigious title in competitive English-language Scrabble. ...


The penalty for a successfully challenged play is nearly universal: the offending player removes the tiles played and forfeits the turn. (However, in some online games, an option known as "void" may be used, wherein unacceptable words are automatically rejected by the program. The player is then required to make another play, with no penalty applied.)

The penalty for an unsuccessful challenge (where all words formed by the play are deemed valid) varies considerably, including:

  • The "double challenge" rule, in which an unsuccessfully challenging player must forfeit the next turn. This penalty governs North American (NSA-sanctioned) tournaments, and is the standard for North American, Israeli and Thai clubs. Because loss of a turn generally constitutes the greatest risk for an unsuccessful challenge, it provides the greatest incentive for a player to "bluff," or play a "phony" – a plausible word that they know or suspect to be unacceptable, hoping their opponent will not call them up on it. Players have divergent opinions on this aspect of the double-challenge game and the ethics involved, but officially it is considered a valid part of the game.
  • A pure "single challenge" or "free challenge" rule, in which no penalty whatsoever is applied to a player who unsuccessfully challenges. This is the default rule in the United Kingdom and Ireland, as well as for many tournaments in Australia, although these countries do sanction occasional tournaments using other challenge rules.
  • A modified "single challenge" rule, in which an unsuccessful challenge does not result in the loss of the challenging player's turn, but is penalized by the loss of a specified number of points. The most common penalty is five points. The rule has been adopted in Singapore and Malaysia (since 2000), South Africa (since 2003), New Zealand (since 2004), and Kenya, as well as in contemporary World Scrabble Championships (since 2001). Some countries and tournaments (including Sweden) use a 10-point penalty instead. In most game situations, this penalty is much lower than that of the "double challenge" rule; consequently, such tournaments encourage a greater willingness to challenge and a lower willingness to play dubious words.

North America North America is a continent[1] in the Earths northern hemisphere and (chiefly) western hemisphere. ... // In the card game of poker, to bluff is to bet or raise with an inferior hand, or with a hand believed to be inferior. ... The World Scrabble Championship is the most prestigious title in competitive English-language Scrabble. ...

Club and tournament play

Tens of thousands play club and tournament Scrabble worldwide. The intensity of play, obscurity of words, and stratospheric scores in tournament games may come as a shock to many parlor players. All tournament (and most club) games are played with a game clock and a set time control. Typically each player has 25 minutes in which to make all of his or her plays. For each minute by which a player oversteps the time control, a penalty of 10 points is assessed. The number of minutes is rounded up, so that if a player oversteps time control by two minutes and five seconds, the penalty is 30 points. In addition, the players use special tiles called Protiles which are not engraved, like wooden tiles are, thereby eliminating the potential for a cheating player to "braille" (feel for particular tiles, especially blanks, in the bag). A typical chess clock. ... A time control is imposed on the tournament play of almost all two-player board games to ensure that neither player delays the game or gains an unfair advantage by thinking for an unduly long time. ...

Players are allowed "tracking sheets", preprinted with the letters in the initial pool, from which tiles can be crossed off as they are played. Tracking tiles is an important aid to strategy, especially during the "endgame", when no tiles remain to be drawn and each player can determine exactly what is on the opponent's rack.

The most prestigious (regularly held) tournaments include:

  1. The World Scrabble Championship: held in odd years, the last was in London in 2005.
  2. The former National Scrabble Championship, now the US Scrabble Open: an open event attracting several hundred players, held in the summer every year or two, most recently in Phoenix on August 4-9, 2006. The event will not be held in 2007.
  3. The Canadian Scrabble Championship: by invitation only to the top fifty Canadian players, held every two to three years.

Clubs in North America typically meet one day a week for three or four hours and some charge a small admission fee to cover their expenses and prizes. Clubs also typically hold at least one open tournament per year. Tournaments are usually held on weekends, and between six and nine games are played each day. Detailed stats on tournaments and players in North America can be found at www.cross-tables.com. The World Scrabble Championship is the most prestigious title in competitive English-language Scrabble. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The United States Scrabble Open, known until 2005 as the National Scrabble Championship, is the largest Scrabble competition in the United States, held every year. ... The Canadian Scrabble Championship is the Canadian national Scrabble competition in the English language, held by invitation-only to the top 50 Canadian players. ...

During off hours at tournaments, many players socialize by playing consultation (team) Scrabble, Clabbers, Anagrams, Boggle and other games. An example board from a game of Clabbers Clabbers is a game played by tournament Scrabble players for fun, or occasionally at Scrabble variant tournaments. ... The Embossing Company Anagrams Set Anagrams is a board game composed of Scrabble-like letter tiles. ... Typical game contents and scoring example. ...

Strategy and tactics

The object of the game is to score more points than your opponent. The key skills are knowing which words are acceptable or unacceptable (according to the official tournament reference) and being able to find them from a jumbled set of letters. Almost all serious tournament players study word lists extensively, and practice solving words from alphagrams or randomly jumbled letters. Only a few players know all the acceptable words for international play. But it is almost certain that the premier players know almost all, if not all, of the words they are likely to come across in their lifetime. For instance, there is no practical advantage in knowing a word like ZYZZYVA, as this would require an extremely improbable rack containing both Ys, both blanks, and the only Z. By contrast, there is great value in learning and reliably finding the word ATRESIA, which uses a very common group of letters. An alphagram of a word (or of any group of letters, such as a Scrabble rack) consists of those letters arranged in alphabetical order. ... Species See text. ... Probability is the likelihood that something is the case or will happen. ... Atresia is a condition in which a body orifice or passage in the body is abnormally closed or absent. ...

For a beginning club player, the most important list to memorize is acceptable two-letter words, because these allow one to play parallel to existing words, often scoring more points than merely extending or crossing a word. After mastering the two-letter words, a beginner can greatly benefit by studying the shorter words containing high scoring tiles (e.g. JEUX, QAT, QUA, ZAX, ZEK), as well as "hook" lists which show what letters can be added to the front and back of words and are therefore essential for forming multiple words in a turn. Until March 2006 and the release of the OWL2, which for the first time included QI as an acceptable word, an important strategy was to memorize the words which have a Q but no U, in case they had a Q on their rack without a U. The addition of QI has made the U-less Q words less important, since the probability that a player will have an unplayable Q has been significantly reduced. Another important tip for beginners is to strategically utilize S's and blanks, which are by far the most useful for hooks and for bingos. Above a certain level of play, a good rule of thumb is that holding onto an S is worth 8 to 10 points, and a blank upwards of 25 points. Binomial name (Vahl) Forssk. ... Gulag ( , Russian: ) was the government body responsible for administering prison camps across the former Soviet Union. ... Qwerty, one of the few native English words with q and no u in current usage, is derived from the first six letters of a standard keyboard layout. ...

Esoteric words do not necessarily score more points than common words. For example FAERIE, depending on board placement, may score fewer points than FAIRY. The word CWM is quite famous for being a three-letter word with no vowels – not even a Y, which is often used as a vowel substitute – but it generally scores less than MACAW, for example. In this particular case, the player who plays CWM also risks overloading his rack with vowels. However, experienced players often choose to forgo points on an individual turn in favor of practicing good rack management.

Letters that are worth four or more points should be played on premium squares if possible, and letters such as X, H, and Y are powerful if they can score in both directions, for four or six times their face value. A vowel next to a double- or triple-letter score creates a hot spot where a valuable consonant can potentially be played for many points. A good strategy for intermediate players is to memorize all the words that involve the "power" tiles (K, J, Q, Z, and X) that are five letters long or shorter. Knowledge of these words can increase a player's scoring by 10 to 20 points per game when applied correctly.

Rack management is the strategic element most overlooked by beginners. It is disadvantageous to keep duplicates of most letters or to have a large imbalance between vowels and consonants. For example, the highest-scoring whole word that can be formed with the letters AADIIKR is DARK. However, this leaves the player with no consonants and a double I. Because vowels are more commonly represented in Scrabble, it is entirely possible that the player will enter the following turn holding the unpromising letters AIIEUAO, for example. If the player had instead played RADII – which scores fewer points than DARK – he or she would have been left with an A and K, a combination which is common. Experts who know all the four-letter words might also have played KADI or RAKI to good effect, leaving an R and a D, respectively.

Defense is another important part of strategy. Experienced players consider how opponents could exploit their tiles and avoid creating easy setups. For instance, the word QUIT provides a 14-point hook to any opponent who has the letter E (thus making QUITE). A seasoned player would rather put a consonant next to a bonus tile than a vowel. Players take care to place the letter U in inconvenient locations if the letter Q has not yet been played.

Because of the 50-point bonus for using all seven tiles in one turn, many players manage their racks specifically to score as many bingos as possible. Making seven- and eight-letter words is generally the fastest way to achieve a high score. The letters A, E, I, N, R, S, and T are the most useful letters for this purpose, and so a good player will be reluctant to play off these letters without some benefit in return. Conversely, good players will strive to play off undesirable tiles, at times even if that play is not the highest scoring one available, and will use a turn to exchange tiles if necessary.

A good tactic for intermediate level players is to memorize "bingo stems," or groups of six letters that combine well with almost any seventh letter to form a bingo. The best bingo stem to have is TISANE, followed by SATIRE and RETINA. With TISANE on the rack, any seventh letter except for Q or Y (or, in North America, J) will create a seven letter word (TISANE + A = TAENIAS or ENTASIA; TISANE + B = BASINET or BANTIES; TISANE + C = CINEAST or ACETINS; etc.) Since many of these seven-letter words are obscure, it is useful to memorize not only the stem, but all the possible bingos that may be created with it. In order to speed up this process both for memorization and during play, some players utilize mnemonics, including a specific type known by the coined term "anamonics" (see links below). The bascinet was a Medieval European open-faced helmet, typically fitted with an aventail and hinged visor. ... Not to be confused with pneumonic. ... An anamonic is a form of mnemonic device frequently employed by tournament Scrabble players. ...

Another strategy that players use to increase bingos is to keep together three-to-four-letter combinations that form many bingos. Common examples of these combinations include "ING," "ERS," "IES" and "IED." For example, 29 of the 30 most popular bingos played on the online Scrabble site Scrabulous contain one of these four combinations (the only exception is the bingo RATIONS)[5]. An intermediate player is likely to hold on to "ING" to build a bingo later at the expense of points on the current play. "ING" bingos in particular tend to be easy for players to find because they only have to rearrange four letters rather than seven to try to find a play. Twelve of the top 20 bingos on Scrabulous are "ING" bingos.

Experts at the highest level average over two bingos a game, and four bingos by a player in a single game is not at all uncommon. Given that a bingo conveys a 50-point bonus, at the tournament level the number of bingos is often the determining factor in a game. At the highest level of competitive Scrabble, knowledge of the words that are acceptable for gameplay – along with their "hooks" – is by far the most important factor. Scrabble experts tend to play games that provide ample openings for their opponents to utilize premium squares, unlike intermediate players, who tend to be more concerned about blocking their opponents. The need for defensive strategy decreases as word knowledge increases.

As in many games, when a player is behind he should gamble and take more risks to try to make up the difference, as losing by 20 points is the same as losing by 40. The converse is also true; players who are ahead should play more defensively.

It is a good idea to manually "shuffle" one's tiles while searching for playable words, as a study has proven that players who physically manipulate tiles using their hands generate more possible words than those who do not. [6]

Computer players

Scrabble has been an object of interest for many artificial intelligence researchers and enthusiasts. As already outlined above, playing the word with the highest score is not always the best strategy, so teaching a computer to play well requires knowledge of a number of much more subtle strategies. Garry Kasparov playing against Deep Blue, the first machine to win a chess game against a reigning world champion. ...

The game is especially interesting to implement because it can be broken down into two phases that are, from a computer's perspective, fundamentally different. The first lasts from the beginning of the game up until the last tile in the bag is drawn. During this phase, it is not known what the other players' tiles are, and the game has an element of randomness. However, when the last tile is drawn and the bag is empty, the computer can deduce from the overall letter distribution what letters must be on the other players' racks. In particular, when playing against a single opponent, the computer knows exactly the tiles on your rack and thus what your possible moves are for the rest of the game. The word random is used to express lack of order, purpose, cause, or predictability in non-scientific parlance. ...

The best-known Scrabble AI player is Maven, created by Brian Sheppard. The official Scrabble computer game in North America uses a version of Maven as its artificial intelligence and is released by Atari. The official downloadable version which uses Maven was created by Funkitron. An open-source challenger to Maven has been created, called Quackle, which may soon surpass its talents. Outside of North America, the official Scrabble computer game is released by Ubisoft. Maven is the current best known artificial intelligence Scrabble player, created by Brian Sheppard. ... This article is about a corporate game company. ... Ubisoft Entertainment (formerly Ubi Soft) is a computer and video game publisher and developer with headquarters in Montreuil, France. ...

NB: It should be noted due that while Scrabble AI was considered to be superior in talent to human players 10 years ago, this level has now been surpassed due to factors such as: 1) More master human players learning more words; 2) Insufficient AI strategies (only revealed once human players rose to the knowledge level of computer players); 3) Incomprehensive move libraries for scrabble AI: AI does not employ varying tactics for different game scenarios.

While technology has been instrumental in the increase in standards of human play, current programs in existence are inferior to human masters.

Computer versions

Several computer and video game versions of Scrabble have been released for various platforms, including PC, Mac, Amiga, Commodore 64, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Game.com, Palm OS, Amstrad CPC, and mobile phones. A complete list of titles can be found here. “Computer Games” redirects here. ... Namcos Pac-Man was a hit, and became a universal phenomenon. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The Macintosh 128K, the first Macintosh computer The iMac, a current Mac computer Macintosh is a brand name which covers several lines of personal computers designed, developed, and marketed by Apple Inc. ... The original Amiga 1000 (1985) with various peripherals The Amiga 500 (1987) was the most popular variant of the Amiga. ... The Commodore 64 is the best-selling single personal computer model of all time. ... The Game Boy ) is a handheld game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo[1], released in 1989 at US$109 ISBN 0-9643848-5-X. The Game Boy was the first successful handheld console, and was the predecessor of all other iterations of the Game Boy line. ... The Game Boy Color , shortened to GBC) is Nintendos successor to the Game Boy and was released on October 21, 1998 in Japan and in November of 1998 in the United States and 1999 in Europe. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The Sony PlayStation ) is a video game console of the 32/64-bit era, first produced by Sony Computer Entertainment in the mid-1990s. ... The PlayStation 2 , abbreviated PS2) is Sonys second video game console, the successor to the PlayStation and the predecessor to the PlayStation 3. ... The Game. ... Palm OS is a compact operating system developed and licensed by PalmSource, Inc. ... The Amstrad CPC was a series of 8-bit home computers produced by Amstrad during the 1980s and early 1990s. ...

Super Scrabble

Main article: Super Scrabble

A new licensed product, Super Scrabble, was launched in North America by Winning Moves Games in 2004 under license from Hasbro. A Mattel-licensed product for the rest of the world was released by Tinderbox Games in 2006. This set comprises 200 tiles in slightly modified distribution to the standard set and a 21x21 playing board. Super Scrabble is a board game that is a variant of Scrabble, first introduced in 2004. ... Super Scrabble is a board game that is a variant of Scrabble, first introduced in 2004. ...

Other versions


Loto-Québec has released a lottery version of the game "Scrabble". The grand prize is $30,000 Canadian. Loto-Québec is an organization to develop and operate lotteries in Québec. ...


Subway (restaurant) has released a version of the game "Scrabble". Played much like the Monopoly that McDonalds holds, you peel the piece from your drink or other item and can instantly win something, or take your pieces online and add them there for bigger prizes. Subway is the name of a multinational restaurant franchise that mainly sells sandwiches and salads. ... A monopoly (from the Greek language monos, one + polein, to sell) is defined as a persistent market situation where there is only one provider of a product or service, in other words a firm that has no competitors in its industry. ... McDonalds Corporation (NYSE: MCD) is the worlds largest chain of fast-food restaurants [1]. Although McDonalds did not invent the hamburger or fast food, its name has become nearly synonymous with both. ...


The following records were achieved during competitive club or tournament play, according to authoritative sources, including the book Everything Scrabble by Joe Edley and John D. Williams, Jr. (revised edition, Pocket Books, 2001) and the Scrabble FAQ. When available, separate records are listed based upon different official word lists: 1) OSPD or OCTWL, the North American list also used in Thailand and Israel; 2) OSW, formerly the official list in the UK; and 3) SOWPODS, the combined OSPD+OSW now used in much of the world. To date, new editions or revisions of these lists have not been considered substantial enough to warrant separate record-keeping.

  • High game (OSPD) – 830 by Michael Cresta (MA), October 12, 2006. Cresta defeated Wayne Yorra 830-490.[7][8]
  • High game (OSW) – 793 by Peter Preston (UK), 1999.[9]
  • High game (SOWPODS) – 750 by Edward Okulicz (Australia), 2004. As Edward's opponent passed without playing on the majority of his turns, this record is of debatable legitimacy. The recognised record for Australian SOWPODS play is 698 by Chris May, 2006.[10] In a noncompetitive club game, Peter Kougi scored 736 in August, 2007.
  • High combined score (OSPD) – 1320 (830-490) by Michael Cresta and Wayne Yorra, in a Lexington, MA, club, 2006.[7][8]
  • High combined score (SOWPODS) – 1082 by Helen Gipson and David Webb, 2000.[9]
  • Highest losing score (OSPD) – 545 by Kevin Rickhoff (CA) to Mark Milan's (CA) 558, Round 18 of the 2006 U.S. Scrabble Open.[9]
  • Highest tie game (OSPD) – 502-502 by John Chew and Zev Kaufman at a 1997 Toronto Club tournament.[1]
  • Highest opening move score (OSPD)BEZIQUE 124 by Sam Kantimathi (CA) in Portland, OR Tournament in 1992. The highest possible legal score on a first turn is MUZJIKS, 128.
  • Highest opening move score (SOWPODS) BEZIQUE 124 Joan Rosenthal.[10] BEZIQUE 124 Sally Martin [10]
  • Highest single play (OSPD)QUIXOTRY 365 by Michael Cresta (MA), 2006.[7][8]
  • Highest single play (SOWPODS)CAZIQUES 392 Karl Khoshnaw.[11]
  • Highest Average Score (two-day tournament) (OSPD) – 467 by Joel Sherman over 11 rounds; Wisconsin Dells, WI 1997.

In the absence of better documentation, it is believed that the following records were achieved under a formerly popular British format known as the "high score rule", in which a player's tournament result is determined only by the player's own scores, and not by the differentials between that player's scores and the opponents'. As a result, play in this system "encourages elaborate setups often independently mined by the two players",[9] and is profoundly different from the true competitive game in which defensive considerations play a major role. While the "high score" rule has unsurprisingly led to impressively high records, it is currently out of favor throughout the world; associating its records with normal competitive play is extremely misleading. Bezique is a trick-taking card game for two players. ... Bezique is a trick-taking card game for two players. ... Bezique is a trick-taking card game for two players. ... G.I. Joel Joel Sherman (1962-), nicknamed GI Joel, is a top American Scrabble expert who has been chronicled in Stefan Fatsis book Word Freak as well as Eric Chaikins film Word Wars and mentioned in CollinsGems reference book mental_floss presents: INSTANT KNOWLEDGE. He was born in the...

  • High game score of 1,049 by Phil Appleby of Lymington, Hants, UK, on June 25, 1989 in Wormley, Herts, UK. His opponent scored just 253 points, giving Appleby a record victory margin of 796 points.
  • High single-turn score of 392, by Dr. Saladin Karl Khoshnaw[11] in Manchester, UK, in April 1982. The word he used was CAZIQUES, meaning "native chiefs of West Indian aborigines".

Other records are available for viewing at Total ScrabblePDF, an unofficial record book which includes the above as sources and expands on other topics. is the 176th day of the year (177th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays 1989 Gregorian calendar). ... This article is about the City of Manchester in England. ... Year 1982 (MCMLXXXII) was a common year starting on Friday (link displays the 1982 Gregorian calendar). ... The Portable Document Format (PDF) is the file format created by Adobe Systems, in 1993, for document exchange. ...

International versions

Versions of the game have been released in several other languages. For more information, see Scrabble letter distributions. Many editions of the word board game Scrabble vary in the letter distribution of the tiles, because the frequency of each letter of the alphabet is different for every language. ...

The game was called Alfapet when it was introduced in Sweden in 1954. However, since the mid-90s the game is also known as Scrabble in Sweden. Alfapet is now another crossword game, created by the owners of the name Alfapet. Alfapet is the Swedish name for the game Scrabble. ... Year 1954 (MCMLIV) was a common year (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

For languages with diagraphs, such as Welsh and Hungarian, the game features separate tiles for those digraphs. Welsh redirects here, and this article describes the Welsh language. ...

Game board formats

A pair of green plastic racks
A pair of green plastic racks

The game has been released in numerous game board formats appealing to various user groups. The original boards included wood tiles and many "deluxe" sets still do. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1600x1101, 111 KB) Summary A pair of w:Scrabble racks. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1600x1101, 111 KB) Summary A pair of w:Scrabble racks. ...

Travel editions

Editions are available for travellers who may wish to play in a conveyance such as a train or plane, or who may wish to pause a game in progress and resume later. Many versions thus include methods to keep letters from moving, such as pegboards, recessed tile holders and magnetic tiles. Players' trays are also designed with stay-fast holders. Such boards are also typically designed to be folded and stowed with the game in progress.

Travel Scrabble boards
  • Production and Marketing Company, 1954 – metal hinged box, bakelite tiles inlaid with round magnets, chrome tile racks, silver colored plastic bag and cardboard box covered with decorative paper. The box, when opened flat, measures 8 1/2" x 7 3/4" and the tiles measure 1/2" x 1/2" each.
  • Spear's Games, 1980s – boxed edition with pegboard, plastic tiles with small feet to fit snugly in the pegboard. Racks are clear plastic, allowing some sorting while holding tiles fairly snugly. Set comes with a drawstring plastic bag to draw tiles and a cardboard box. It is possible to save a game in progress by returning the board to the box. There is risk of players' trays being mixed and upset, and the box lid, held on by friction, is subject to upset.
  • Selchow & Righter, 1980s – pocket edition with plastic "magnetic" board and tiles. Tile racks are also plastic with asymmetrical shape to provide handhold. All elements fit in a plastic envelope for travel and to permit a pause in the game. Plastic letters are very small and tend to lose their grip if not placed with slight lateral movement and if they are not perfectly clean. Game format is extremely small, allowing Scrabble games for backpackers and others concerned about weight and size.
  • Hasbro Games, 2001 – hinged plastic board with clear tile-shaped depressions to hold tiles in play. Board is in a black, zippered folio such that board and tiles may be folded for travel, even with game in play. Reverse side of board contains numbered mounts for racks, holding tiles face down, allowing secure and confidential storage of tiles while game is paused. Some versions have tile racks with individual tile slots, thus not permitting easy sorting of tiles in rack.

Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 524 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (1821 × 2082 pixel, file size: 2. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 524 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (1821 × 2082 pixel, file size: 2. ...

Deluxe editions

At the opposite end, some "deluxe" editions offer superior materials and features. These include editions on a rotating turntable so players can always face the board with the letters upright. More serious players often favor custom Scrabble boards, often made of Lucite or hardwood, that have superior rotating mechanisms and personalized graphics.

Large Print edition

An edition has been released (in association with the RNIB) with larger board and letters for players with impaired vision. The colours on the board are more contrasting and the font size is increased from 16 to 24 point. The tiles are in bold 48 point. The Royal National Institute for Deaf People, which prefers to be referred to as RNID, seeks to represent all deaf and hard of hearing people in the UK. RNIDs headquarters are in Islington, in Central London (19-23 Featherstone Street, LONDON EC1Y 8SL). ...

Works detailing tournament Scrabble

An introduction to tournament Scrabble and its players can be found in the book Word Freak by Stefan Fatsis. In the process of writing, Fatsis himself progressed into a high-rated tournament player. Book cover Word Freak is a non-fiction narrative by Stefan Fatsis published in 2001 (ISBN 0-618-01584-1). ... Stefan Fatsis Stefan Fatsis (1963- ) is a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal and a guest reporter on NPRs All Things Considered and on American Public Medias Marketplace (radio program). ...

There have been numerous documentaries made about the game, including:

  • Word Wars (2004) by Eric Chaikin and Julian Petrillo, about the "tiles and tribulations on the Scrabble game circuit".
  • Scrabylon (2003), by Scott Petersen, which "gives an up-close look at why people get so obsessed with that seemingly benign game..."
  • Word Slingers by Eric Siblin and Stefan Vanderland (produced for CBC, 2002), which follows four expert Canadian players at the 2001 World Championship in Las Vegas.

Word Wars is a 2004 documentary film directed by Eric Chaikin and Julian Petrillo about competition Scrabble playing. ... The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), a Canadian crown corporation, is the country’s national public radio and television broadcaster. ...

References in literature, television, music and film

Scrabble has existed for long enough to have become a cultural icon, and as such, allusions to it are frequent. This article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedias deletion policy. ...

A game of Scrabble is an important plot point in Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel (and film) The Handmaid's Tale, in which a game of Scrabble allows one of the brief forms of non-sexual interaction between the main character Offred and her master "The Commander". In the dystopia of The Handmaid's Tale, literacy is forbidden to women, a feature which makes the game a forbidden indulgence. Margaret Eleanor Atwood, OC (born November 18, 1939) is a Canadian writer. ... This article is about the philosophical concept and literary form. ... The Handmaids Tale is a dystopian novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, first published by McClelland and Stewart in 1985. ... World literacy rates by country The traditional definition of literacy is considered to be the ability to read and write, or the ability to use language to read, write, listen, and speak. ...

In other situations, the crossword nature of the game of Scrabble, or the fact that it contains tiles containing letters, is an important plot point. The letters of the Scrabble set are sometimes used as a tool for divination in these versions, rather like a Ouija or talking board game. In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the main character Arthur Dent creates a wooden Scrabble set, though in the pre-literate setting he appears in, no opponents can be found; instead, he uses them to divine the "ultimate question" whose answer is The Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. In Ira Levin's novel Rosemary's Baby, and in the film version, Rosemary uses a Scrabble set to construct anagrams from figures mentioned in a book about witchcraft in an attempt to find clues into the mystery surrounding her pregnancy. This article is about the religious practice of divination. ... Example of Ouija Board and Planchette. ... The cover of the first novel in the Hitchhikers series, from a late 1990s printing. ... Martin Freeman as Arthur Dent, waking up at the beginning of the movie. ... The Answer to The Ultimate Question Of Life, the Universe, and Everything is a fictional solution in Douglas Adamss science fiction series The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. ... Ira Levin (born August 27, 1929 in New York) is an American novelist, playwright and songwriter. ... For the film, see Rosemarys Baby (film) Rosemarys Baby is a 1967 horror novel by Ira Levin. ... Rosemarys Baby is an Academy Award-winning 1968 horror film directed by Roman Polanski based on the Ira Levin novel of the same name. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see Witchcraft (disambiguation). ...

In 1984, Scrabble was turned into a daytime game show on NBC. The series was hosted by Chuck Woolery and produced by Reg Grundy Productions. Scrabble returned to NBC for a short time in 1993 with the same host, Chuck Woolery. Scrabble was an American television game show that was based on the Scrabble board game. ... The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American television network headquartered in the GE Building in New York Citys Rockefeller Center. ... Charles Herbert Chuck Woolery (born on March 16, 1941) is a popular game show host, best known for hosting the dating game show Love Connection, from its debut in 1983 to the conclusion of its first version in 1994. ... Reg Grundy Productions was the American wing of the worldwide television production company Grundy Worldwide, which was founded by Australian television producer Reg Grundy. ...


  1. ^ http://www.history.com/exhibits/toys/scrabble.html.
  2. ^ http://www.msoworld.com/mindzine/news/proprietary/scrabble/features/history.html.
  3. ^ a b c d Fatsis, Stefan. Word Freak : Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble Players. ISBN 0-14-200226-7
  4. ^ Hasbro Scrabble - History
  5. ^ Popular bingos in Scrabble
  6. ^ Interactive Skill in Scrabble. Paul P. Maglio, Teenie Matlock, Dorth Raphaely, Brian Chernicky, David Kirsh. 1999.
  7. ^ a b c http://www.wolfberg.net/scrabble/lexington/score830/
  8. ^ a b c http://www.slate.com/id/2152255/?nav=ais
  9. ^ a b c d http://home.teleport.com/~stevena/scrabble/faqtext.html#Records
  10. ^ a b c http://www.scrabble.org.au/records/alltime.htm
  11. ^ a b WSC Player Information: Karl Khoshnaw. Retrieved on 2006-04-27.

Book cover Word Freak is a non-fiction narrative by Stefan Fatsis published in 2001 (ISBN 0-618-01584-1). ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays full 2006 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... April 27 is the 117th day of the year (118th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 248 days remaining. ...

See also

For a list of words with three letters, see the English three letter wordsEnglish three letter words category of words in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wiktionary (a portmanteau of wiki and dictionary) is a multilingual, Web-based project to create a free content dictionary, available in over 150 languages. ... Scrabble variants are games created by changing the normal Scrabble rules or equipment. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Yahoo! Games. ... (blend or portmanteau of blank+anagram) A pair or set of blanagrams are words which use the same group of letters (i. ... An anamonic is a form of mnemonic device frequently employed by tournament Scrabble players. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Scrabble - Uncyclopedia, the content-free encyclopedia (936 words)
Because of the special skill-set required to be a successful tournament Scrabble player, most of them are geeky, but unfortunately are too geeky to make it a go as a computer programmer nerd or lacking the body fat or hockey jerseys of a sports nerd.
They give up much to be a tournament Scrabble player: i.e., time spent memorizing the official Scrabble dictionary and doing practice games, leaving less time available to find and keep jobs, and a loss of opportunities to socialize and hence to find everlasting true love.
Scrabble was originally the catchphrase of the Hamburglar, but scrapped due to trademark litigation.
Scrabble - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (6823 words)
Scrabble is a popular word game and board game in which 2-4 players score points by forming words from individual lettered tiles on a 15×15 game board.
Scrabble is referenced frequently in pop culture, most likely due to its popularity, accessibility, and universal familiarity.
Scrabble and the tournament scene revolving around it are the subject of the documentary Word Wars.
  More results at FactBites »



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