Scrabble, once the sport of kings and their grandmothers, has made increasing inroads toward trying to chillax about its word restrictions, to name just one garbage portmanteau it allowed to slither into its official dictionary. Last year, it invited players to vote on a word for inclusion, which the people squandered on “geocache”—a completely useless term that requires all the game’s “C” tiles, astronomical odds, and awareness of a pastime even nerdier than competitive Scrabble. At the same time, it added a host of neologisms such as “frenemy” and “selfie” that were clearly intended to draw hip millennials back to the fun of placing alphabetical tiles in a row, while simultaneously ruining this last, simple pleasure for anyone over the age of 50.
And now the floodgates are truly open. Around 6,500 new words have now joined the Scrabble ranks, many of them internet-derived slang like “emoji” and “ridic” that you can find littering the pages of Urban Dictionary, as well as the kitchen floors of players who upend the board and resolve to go live in the woods.
“Now people use slang in social media posts, tweets, blogs, comments, text messages—you name it—so there’s a host of evidence for informal varieties of English that simply didn’t exist before,” said Helen Newstead, head of language content at the Collins Scrabble Word List, and person who has just given up.
This inclusiveness isn’t limited to words that, while they may be irritating, actually describe something relatively new, such as “hashtag,” “FaceTime,” and “sexting.” Many of these terms have already made them into our more formal dictionaries, after all; fellow new Scrabble inductee “vape” was even deemed the word of a very dark year. Nor are these just words that are destined to join the likes of “da bomb, “TMI,” and “in the heezy” in the pantheon of forgotten slang to be used solely in future retro comedies, like “twerking” and “hacktivist.”
No, among these varieties of English that we’re just going to pretend are words now are these, the guttural exclamations of a once-great society, now only a few years away from allowing actual emoji in its word contests:
- Augh (as in, “AUGH WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO THIS GAME”)
- Blech (as in, “Blech, old people”)
- Cakehole (as in, “Hey grammarians, shut your cakehole”)
- Cazh (as in, “I am too casual to spell out ‘casual’”)
- Devo (as in “Devolution, ironically”)
- Eew (as in, “Eew, standards”)
- Grr (as in, “Grr, I remember when Scrabble prized mastery of vocabulary, rather than the thumb-grunts of modern cavemen”)
- Lolz (as in, “Lolz, u mad?”)
- Lotsa (as in, “Lotsa people don’t gotta spell good no more”)
- Newb (as in, “I play too many video games”)
- Obvs (as in, “This is pandering bullshit, obvs”)
- Shizzle (as in, “For shizzle Scrabble is hip to the lingo of two decades ago”)
- Thanx (as in, “Fuck you, English teachers”)
- Waah (as in, “Waah, I care about the denigration of language”)
- Yeesh (as in, “Yeesh, I don’t want to live anymore”)
The full list of new Scrabble words is available here. Bookmark it for future reference in games that will inevitably end in shouting matches.