Scrabble jumps on the buzz-word bandwagon

Purists of the multi-generational game may find inclusion of words such as ‘bromance’ and ‘selfie’ to be a ‘buzzkill’.

News Desk August 06, 2014

For the first time in nearly a decade, Scrabble players will be allowed to add new words on their boards. Young players of the classic word game, perhaps disenfranchised by its decade-old lexicon, can ‘chillax’ now that the game is being updated to become the last word in the language of the millennials, reported Reuters.

Published by Merriam-Webster, the fifth edition of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary includes 5,000 new words, which editors say will help the 66-year-old game stay relevant. Some older players and Scrabble purists might find the inclusion of words such as ‘bromance’ and ‘selfie’ to be a ‘buzzkill’, as a few of the additions seem so fresh.

But most of the inclusions are likely to be long-studied and time-tested, with obvious staying power, said Grant Barrett, a San Diego dictionary editor and co-host of the nationwide public radio show A Way with Words.

“To me, the list is a great step forward,” Barrett said. “I think you have got to add new words. Otherwise you risk this turning into an archaic game that nobody wants to play because the daily language isn’t accepted there. It has got to keep up.”

The publishing house this week released a sample of the new words, which adds 30 pages to the dictionary, last updated 10 years ago. In addition to ‘bromance’, ‘chillax’, ‘selfie’ and ‘buzzkill’, the list includes terms such as ‘hashtag’ (commonly used with Twitter), ‘dubstep’ (a trending electronic dance music), ‘texter’ (referring to one who texts), and ‘meh’ (an expression of ambivalence used on social media and in text messaging). Also joining the dictionary is the popularly used word ‘emo’, which is the short form of the word ‘emotional’, reported CNN.

New additions, for instance, ‘webzine’, ‘frenemy’ and ‘funplex’ have been around a decade or two and may feel a little closer to Gen X terminology. The same goes for ‘mixtape’ and ‘beatbox’, also in the new book, which took their places firmly in the American vernacular by the end of the 1980s, but have stayed current in spite of changes in technology and pop culture.

“It’s not just the words that get into society,” said Chris Cree, co-president of the North American Scrabble Players Association in Dallas, which oversaw the update. “They are also words that have the potential of sticking around.” The game’s official fan group, which organises tournaments and reviews updates to the dictionary, is thrilled about this development.

Some of the inclusions in the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary:











Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2014.

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