When given the choice of swaying back and forth at a dank nightclub (I say “swaying” because that’s the closest to dancing I will ever get) or playing Scrabble with a group of friends, I will choose the latter option almost every time, assuming the nightclub is not filled with celebrities, buckets of Skittles, or anything else that ranks higher on my interests list than word games. Luckily for me, the game has become even more irresistible thanks to Merriam-Webster, which added 5,000 new words to The Official Scrabble Player’s Dictionary this past week. While there were some that should’ve been excluded, in my opinion (not to name any names, but selfie was definitely one of them), most of the new terms were promising for Scrabble enthusiasts looking to cream their competition.
1) Te (n.): variant of the musical note “ti”
Before you question my vocabulary, allow me to point out how incredibly useful a two-letter word can be in a game of Scrabble, especially one composed of the two most popular letters in the game. “Te” is destined to be the crown jewel of the board-game world. Play your tiles right and this simple combination will leave your friends scrambling for a triple-word score to match your greatness.
2) Jockdom (n.): the world of athletes
At what point does a hobby become big enough that it can be considered a kingdom? Because if jocks get their own word, I don’t see what’s stopping us from granting bookworms their own word (I propose “bwormdom” but I’m open to other suggestions) or “people who peel their split ends” because there are plenty of potential members in either case.
3) Schmutz (n.): slang for dirt or smudge
Hailing from the Yiddish word “shmuts,” schmutz is the sound that usually comes out when you try to point out the stain on someone’s shirt but your brain shuts down halfway through, so you throw out whatever combination of letters you think will get the point across. “There’s um, a little something, sm. . .speck. . .schmutz! There’s schmutz on your shirt.” Congratulations, brain-fart victims. You just scored a 23-point win today.
4) Quinzhee (n.): a shelter made from a hollowed-out pile of snow
In a game of Scrabble, a mound of snow with a hole in it is called a quinzhee and you have my full permission to argue the point until everyone gets annoyed and leaves. In real life, it’s called a snow fort, because when points don’t matter, regular people don’t use words with a “q” and a “z” in regular conversation unless they’re announcing a pop quiz or handling tranquilizer guns. But those are the only exceptions.
5) Qajaq (n.): foreign word for “kayak”
In an ideal world, Scrabble players would earn bonus points for creating palindromes but the game makers probably thought this rule was too confusing and settled for “regular Scrabble” instead. Even so, qajaq stands a chance at being one of the most valuable words in the game. Place it on a triple-word or triple-letter square and you stand to gain 20 or 30 points, at minimum.
6) Chillax (v.): calm down and relax
As it turns out, Merriam-Webster has finally started to recognize middle school slang. Chillax, commonly found in AIM away messages or junior high yearbook entries, has joined the ranks of “lexicon” and “quizzical” on the list of valuable Scrabble terms. It’s not a huge honor, considering the next word also makes the list.
7) Funplex (n.): an indoor or outdoor area where various entertainment and recreational activities are available
That’s right. That room swarming with children and germs has its own word now, and it’s been officially recognized by the Scrabble overlords. If you don’t have the necessary letters for “Googleplex,” at least you now have an alternative.
8) Joypad (n.): an input device for a computer game console which uses buttons to control the motion of an image on the screen
You’re disappointed, I know, but I never said that “joypad” was a groovy bachelor pad filled with fun things instead of men. That was your assumption and I cannot take the blame for that. Why joypad made this list, when all of the 13-year-old gamer boys using it have probably never touched a Scrabble board, I don’t know. Maybe it’s the closest thing to “iPad” the Scrabble game makers could find without infringing on a trademarked Apple product.
9) Geocache (v.): outdoor recreational activity in which a GPS is used to find hidden objects
Well it’s about time. Geocaching, also known as “treasure hunting for grown-ups,” is an extremely underrated sport known only by a select few. (And I say “sport” because scaling mountains or swimming across large bodies of water are not unheard of tasks in a geocaching game.) I’m glad Scrabble has finally recognized the efforts of all those humans who are outside being active for the benefit of those sitting inside, mentally rearranging vowels and consonants in the darkness of their living room in order to land a 50-point medical term.
10) Sudoku (n.): a strategy game involving numbers on a grid
For a game that is the equivalent of Scrabble for number-nerds, sudoku took a surprisingly long amount of time to become “official.” At least now we have somewhere to put our “u”s.
Featured image via AliiMG.com.