In order to play a game of SCRABBLE®, players must agree to a dictionary in order to adjudicate any challenges that may occur. How do you know if a word is really a word? It depends on your lexicon! A lexicon is a list of words (whereas a dictionary is a lexicon that includes definitions) and the plurals of lexicon is “lexicons” or “lexica”. Scrabble is played in many languages and these are not the only lexica that exist, but we use the most recent editions of the following lexica at our club. You can choose whether you prefer to play NWL or CSW and we will match you accordingly.
North American Word List (NWL) and Official Scrabble Players Dictionary (OSPD)
The North American Word List is the primary lexicon used in competitive play in Canada and the United States. This is one of the lexica used at the Mississauga SCRABBLE® Club. It is based on OSPD, but contains more words than OSPD because it includes some offensive words, some trademarked terms (e.g. “FEDEX” or “VELCRO”) and words longer than eight letters. It is maintained by NASPA, an association of Scrabble players. It contains many obscure words because it combines lists of words from a number of major collegiate dictionaries.
OSPD Official SCRABBLE® Players Dictionary is the primary lexicon for school and household play. Published by Merriam-Webster, this dictionary is considered family-friendly as many words deemed offensive have been omitted. It is currently in its 7th edition and is sold in most major bookstores. Because it is a dictionary, you can find definitions in it, too.
Collins SCRABBLE® Words (CSW)
Collins SCRABBLE® Words, also known as Collins and formerly SOWPODS, is the primary official lexicon used in most of the world outside North America. Thus, it is used in major international tournaments such as the World SCRABBLE® Championship. It contains many obscure words because it combines lists of words from a number of major collegiate dictionaries, including almost all of the words in NWL–therefore, it is considerably larger than NWL. This is another one of the lexica used at the Mississauga SCRABBLE® Club.
If you want to review any of these word lists yourself, visit the Apps page and download a dictionary or word lookup app.